AMTCE and ETTA join forces to boost second level STEM

STEM teaching in post-primary and Further Education and Training (FET) has received a significant boost with the establishment of the first official headquarters for the Engineering Technology Teachers Association (ETTA) located at LMETB’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) in Dundalk.

It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Martin O’Brien, chief executive of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) and founder of the AMTCE and Barry Convey, chairperson of the ETTA on Sat 6 May 2023 in Dundalk.

The purpose of the MoU is to provide close collaboration in the design, development and delivery of bespoke courses, and training opportunities for teachers and educators. With its official headquarters now located at the AMTCE, the ETTA will have direct access to relevant engineering and technology focused courses and programmes. The AMTCE will also work with ETTA staff on the joint development and delivery of bespoke certified courses for its members.

Barry Convey, chair of the Engineering Technology Teachers Association (ETTA) with Martin O’Brien, CEO of LMETB and founder of AMTCE

The AMTCE will also provide active support for ETTA projects that encourage post-primary and FET learners to engage with advance manufacturing, STEM, IT, and other related subject areas.

Speaking at the event, LMETB CEO Martin O’Brien, founder of AMTCE, said “Given the importance of STEM to the Irish economy, our partnership with ETTA will serve to provide effective, relevant training for its members at the frontline of STEM education in Ireland.

Together, we will explore joint funding opportunities and the launching and promotion of initiatives in our schools and further education that will increase access and participation in engineering and technology initiatives and develop a talent pipeline of highly skilled future employees in high value jobs for our thriving manufacturing sector,” O’Brien continued.

Founded in 1983, the Engineering Technology Teachers’ Association (E.T.T.A.) is a voluntary administered association representing teachers of Engineering, Technology and Design and Communication Graphics (D.C.G.). With over 300 active members, it supports teachers and students in what is a time of immense change in the Irish education system and runs the nationally acclaimed Young Engineer of the Year competition for Leaving Cert students.

Barry Convey, chair of ETTA said, “The ETTA is delighted to have the opportunity to develop and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with LMETB/AMTCE. This MoU highlights the importance of positive relationships and progressive collaboration which will be of huge benefit to the ETTA members and their students. This agreement gives access for the ETTA to amazing opportunities to develop bespoke training courses and world class facilities and gives rise to the development of such courses that will lead to CPD for members in a rapidly changing space in education at this moment in time. “

AMTCE was established in 2021 by the LMETB to deliver hands on skills-oriented training needed to underpin the transition of Irish enterprise to industry 4.0 based operations, with a focus on manufacturing, pharma, food & drink, construction, and engineering sectors. The courses offered include Robotic Processes, Cobotics, Additive Manufacturing, IIoT, CAD/CAM, Industrial Control, Cybersecurity, Process Optimization (Lean 6 Sigma), BioPharma and Food Processing to name a few.

Sadie Ward McDermott, director of further education and training (FET) in LMETB said “This is a ground-breaking partnership which highlights the significant importance that LMETB attaches to providing access to State-of-the-art FET facilities at the AMTCE for ETTA members. The anticipated accrued benefits to the promotion and enabling of students and learners in second and FET levels in STEM will be significant. LMETB view this MoU to be a significant building block in a multi-pronged strategy to support and increase engagement of students and learners in STEM related projects, courses and programmes and to ultimately work towards increasing numbers of those considering career pathways in STEM related disciplines.”

Welcoming the signing of the MOU, Fiona Kindlon, director of schools, LMETB, said “I look forward to working with ETTA in a strong, collegial and collaborative manner to sustain and further develop the positive and professional working relations that currently exist between LMETB, ETTA and Engineering and Technology subject teachers in LMETB.

The Department of Education Digital Strategy for Schools and the Looking at our Schools 2022 document require schools to be more creative and innovative about learning, teaching and assessment in our classrooms. The signing of this MOU and a new base for ETTA in the AMTCE will provide new opportunities for creative and innovative approaches to designing bespoke CPD for our teachers to ensure they are familiar with new and emerging technologies that can be embedded into learning, teaching and assessment to increase student engagement, create greater awareness of emerging career paths and increase the numbers of students taking technology and engineering related subjects. This partnership will also provide opportunities to consider the development and implementation of ground-breaking STEM projects in LMETB schools and colleges which will be of benefit to students, teachers and local employers going forward, “ Kindlon continued.

Martin O’Brien, CEO of LMETB and founder of AMTCE with Barry Convey, chair of the Engineering Technology Teachers Association (ETTA)