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Skills developed in sport key to building a successful career in engineering, says GAA football star Tom Parsons

Engineers Ireland unveils Engineering Superhero Ambassadors in national ‘call to action’ for Engineers Week 2019.

Survey shows 88% of parents of primary school students and 80% of parents of secondary school students see engineering as a rewarding career choice.

The skills developed on the sports field have been vital to building a successful career in engineering, according to GAA star Tom Parsons.

Tom Parsons, also a Chartered Engineer working in civil engineering at Jacobs, was speaking at the launch of Engineers Week 2019, and has joined forces with Engineers Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland to issue a ‘call to action’ to schools, businesses, third-level institutions and local authorities across Ireland to start planning and registering for next year’s event.

Tom Parsons joins Orla Murphy, Engineering Quality Transformation Manager at Jaguar Land Rover and also a Chartered Engineer, as Engineering Superhero Ambassadors for Engineers Week 2019, a festival of engineering which begins nationwide on Saturday, 2 March and runs until Friday, 8 March 2019.

The Mayo senior football vice-captain, currently recovering from a knee injury, said:

“For 30 to 40 hours of my week, I am a professional athlete focused on training, recovery, diet, video analysis, workshops amongst other things; then, for the other half of the week, I am a professional engineer.  All those attributes that are critical in sport, such as resilience, effective communications, flexibility, time-management and of course passion, are equally vital to becoming an effective and dynamic engineer. Like athletes, engineers have unique abilities to push boundaries and overcome great challenges, and so I’m delighted to support Engineers Week 2019 – and I urge schools, families, and students across the country to support what is now a vital annual event in the engineering calendar.”

Survey insights revealed by Engineers Ireland and conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes have shown that 88% of parents of primary school pupils see engineering as offering students a rewarding career.

Orla Murphy, Engineering Quality Transformation Manager at Jaguar Land Rover:

“Growing up, engineering wasn’t even on my radar, but I loved maths, physics and music.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be and considered becoming a vet or a doctor.  It wasn’t until the discovery of an engineering course that was a third maths, a third physics and a third music that I had that eureka moment of ‘that’s what I want to do with my life’ – and I’ve never looked back.  Engineering is so diverse and varied, and I’m thrilled to support Engineers Week 2019 as an Engineering Superhero Ambassador and I look forward to inspiring students to explore the limitless opportunities a career in the area offers.”

Corkonian Orla Murphy was the UK’s Institution of Engineering and Technology’s ‘Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2015’ and the Royal Academy of Engineering Trust’s ‘Young Engineer of the Year 2016’, and regularly speaks about the importance of STEM subjects and the exciting world of engineering.

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland:

“Engineers in Ireland have never been more in demand and a ready supply of talented engineers will be fundamental to realising the ambitions of Project Ireland 2040. We’re very pleased to have Tom Parsons and Orla Murphy’s support as part of Engineers Week 2019.  Through their commitment and the collaborative efforts of engineering organisations, our annual festival will bring the fascinating world of engineering to life in schools, libraries, organisations and communities all around Ireland.”

Margie McCarthy, Head of Education and Public Engagement at Science Foundation Ireland:

“Science Foundation Ireland believes in the ability of science, technology, engineering and maths to effect positive change in the world.  Engineers Week 2019 offers an opportunity to encourage and inspire young people and help guide their subject and career choices to increase their knowledge and understanding of the world of engineering, and we are delighted to support the week in partnership with Engineers Ireland.”

Engineers Week, now in its 13th year, is a campaign held annually to promote engineering as a career and the importance of the profession to Ireland.  Engineers Week of 2018 involved over 850 events which were attended by over 77,000 participants across 31 counties.  To find out more about events taking place around the country or to register an event log onto As well as events organised by companies, third-level institutions and the public sector, teachers are also encouraged to run their own classroom-based activities, quizzes and competitions.

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