Covid-19 and subsequent school closures posed significant challenges to the successful delivery of the Student Enterprise Programme (SEP). The key objective of that programme is to promote entrepreneurship to our young people in second level schools. Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Sligo wanted to ensure that, where visits to the school by the SEP Co-ordinator were going to prove difficult, teachers and students were supported in their efforts to develop innovative student businesses, which forms a key part of the programme.
Local Enterprise Office Sligo helps Students get creative with 3D Printing
John Reilly, Head of Enterprise, Sligo County Council explains:
"We wanted to lessen some of the negative impacts of Covid-19 on our enterprising students and come up with a way whereby their creativity could be encouraged, and where they could receive expert help in developing prototype versions of their product ideas. That's why we decided to support the schools, students and teachers with our 3D Printer project”.
He also spoke of how projects such as this one feed into the strategic objectives of the Council as set out in its recent digital strategy and its objective of promoting Sligo as a smart city and smart region. He said
“projects such as this one not only increase the skillset of students but they also help students gain an appreciation of the increasing role that relevant technologies, in this case 3D printing, are playing in businesses and the critical importance of technology to future careers and business”.
LEO Sligo wanted to provide a quality 3D printer to schools participating in the 2020-21 SEP, together with virtual training for both the teachers and students in each school. The contract was won by FabLab Manorhamilton and 10 Flashforge Adventurer 3 printers are making their way to 10 secondary schools in Co. Sligo. The current school closures have delayed the rollout of the virtual training for student and teacher groups, but both teachers and students are eagerly awaiting the training once schools reopen.
Ann Gorby, Principal, Mercy College Sligo said:
“We are delighted to be involved with this project. We were concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on our students’ participation in the Student Enterprise Programme. We have received our 3D printer and are very much looking forward to getting involved with the training. Our teachers are eager to sharpen their skills and help students to build prototypes of their product ideas”.
The 3D Printers have been delivered to Mercy College, Summerhill College, Ursuline College, St. Mary's College, Grange Post-Primary, Coláiste Iascaigh, Coláiste Muire and St. Attracta's and will shortly be delivered to Coola Post-Primary and Jesus and Mary Secondary School.