Griffiths & Armour announce inaugural winners of their ‘Engineering Futures’ bursary

Griffiths & Armour announce inaugural winners of their ‘Engineering Futures’ bursary

24 May 2019 at 16:46

Griffiths & Armour Insurance Brokers, in partnership with Engineers Ireland and the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) are delighted to announce that Helen Skeffington-Kelly (DIT - Technological University Dublin) and Alan Spillane (Limerick Institute of Technology) are the inaugural winners of the ‘Engineering Futures’ bursary, a 4 year initiative launched by Griffiths & Armour towards the end of 2018.

Griffiths & Armour, an insurance broker firm with a long and established reputation in Ireland for its expertise in Professional Indemnity Insurance and Risk Management within the construction industry, launched The Engineering Futures bursary initiative to support and inspire young people into considering the traditional Engineering sectors as a viable career path. The announcement of both winners follows a rigorous application process which involved encouraging students from colleges across Ireland to apply for the bursary by producing an essay entitled ‘Engineering My Future’ which provided applicants the opportunity to share why they had chosen their particular course in Engineering, what the bursary would mean to them and their thoughts on the future of engineering in the built environment. The standard of applications received was extremely high making the assessment process very challenging for the judges, who included Dr Richard Manton of Engineers Ireland and ACEI Secretary General, Dr Sarah Ingle. A short-list of candidates was then selected for interview in late November 2018 at the ACEI offices in Dublin.

Pictured at Engineers Ireland headquarters are the winners of the Griffiths & Armour ‘Engineering Futures’ Bursary, Helen Skeffington-Kelly and Alan Spillane.  Also in the photograph are (left to right): Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, Dr Richard Manton, Policy Officer and Deputy Registrar of Engineers Ireland, Graeme Tinney, Director from Griffiths and Armour and Dr Sarah Ingle, Secretary General of the ACEI.

In addition to financial support, Alan and Helen can look forward to a guaranteed internship with an ACEI member firm which both are due to start in June 2019. They will also benefit from a range of exciting experiences throughout the period of their studies and were recently invited as guests to the Young Professionals’ Business day at the European Federation of Consulting Engineering Associations (EFCA) Conference in May which was hosted by ACEI in Dublin. At they had the opportunity to engage with Engineers from across Europe as well as participating in a site visit along with other delegates.

Picking up on their desire to inspire the next generation, as part of the bursary Alan and Helen will also have a platform to share their stories and to influence those who may be considering Engineering as a career.

Helen is a second year Civil & Structural Engineering student while Alan is studying Electrical Engineering.  Both recognise the need to promote the opportunities that a career in Engineering can provide and Alan is already heavily involved in promoting engineering to young people in primary and secondary schools by running workshops, delivering presentations and running his own electrical engineering club within his college. As the only female student in a class of 52, Helen is particularly aware of the need to address gender imbalance and for young women to understand the opportunities available to them whilst still in second level education.  As well as addressing those issues, both Alan and Helen are hugely aware of the contribution engineers make to society and are excited about how the profession will help to shape the future of the built environment.

Graeme Tinney from Griffiths & Armour {who was also on the judging panel} commented: “It was a thoroughly enjoyable interview process and the future of engineering is bright with so many inspiring and aspirational young students applying but in the end what stood out with both Helen and Alan was not only their determination and passion for Engineering but a genuine desire to inspire the next generation.  Ultimately, that was probably one of the deciding factors in awarding the bursary”.

Sarah Ingle from ACEI commented: “ACEI highly commends Griffiths & Armour on this rewarding Engineering Futures Bursary initiative. It was a privilege to be involved in the shortlisting and interviewing of the candidates and based on the high standard of applications the future is bright for engineering in Ireland. ACEI member firms are delighted to provide rewarding internships for Helen and Alan. The association also looks forward with interest to following their engineering careers and assisting them in their professional development”.

Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland said: “Engineering Futures is an excellent industry-driven bursary award for two young engineering students championed by Griffiths & Armour and I offer my sincere congratulations to its recipients Helen Skeffington-Kelly and Alan Spillane. The initiative represents a desire and commitment by Griffiths & Armour to support the profession of engineering and I would like to thank them for their dedication, and particularly to Graeme Tinney, for spearheading this four-year initiative which at its core, aims to support and equip students through their undergraduate years of study. 

“A key issue facing our profession is ensuring we have a pipeline of STEM talent (science, technology, engineering and maths) and a ready supply of engineering graduates to fill the jobs of the future. Proactive nationwide initiatives such as this inaugural bursary are to be welcomed and I thank Griffiths & Armour for making it part of their business strategy in Ireland. Additionally, with Helen and Alan’s willingness to share their story, I am sure they too will play a part in encouraging more young people to recognise the exciting third-level engineering choices open to them.” Ms Spillane concluded: “The bursary winner’s announcement is timely, as we recently celebrated Engineers Week, which aims to demonstrate to young people that engineering is a diverse career which is both satisfying and far-reaching”.