Four women standing outside the headquarters of Kirby Group engineering in Limerick.
Ciara McMillan, Alannah O’Connell, Anna Carr and Leah McElvaney. Image: Alan Place

Kirby Group awards five students with bursaries to boost women in engineering

6 Nov 2023

Kirby Group said the bursary recipients will receive fee coverage for the academic year as well as paid placements and mentorship.

As part of a bid to encourage women into engineering careers, Limerick’s Kirby Group is repeating its third-level bursary funding programme it began last year. Today, (6 November), the mechanical and electrical engineering contractor announced the recipients of this year’s five bursaries.

The winners were chosen as part of a selection process that was overseen by Kirby’s senior management team. The five women are all currently attending third-level colleges in Ireland. They will receive a full scholarship to cover the academic year of 2023 to 2024 as well as paid professional placements on Kirby’s team. They will be mentored by the company’s senior engineers.

“Following the huge success of our programme last year, we are thrilled to, once again, work with a talented group of female engineering students from third-level institutions across the country, who will gain invaluable experience through their placement on this programme,” said Amy Lane, electrical engineering manager at Kirby.

She added that the company was “proud” to be part of the movement supporting women in engineering careers. The recipients of this year’s bursaries are Leah McElvaney, Ciara McMillan, Anna Carr, Ellie Fox and Alannah O’Connell.

Dubliner Fox is a first-year student of electrical service engineering at Technological University Dublin, while O’Connell from Clare is in her third year studying renewable and electrical engineering at Technological University Shannon.

McElvaney, who hails from Monaghan, chose to study mechanical engineering at third level because she wants to work in renewables. “Through work experience in school, I fell in love with engineering and I’m especially interested in the design and manufacturing element of the industry,” said the student, who is in the second year of her course at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Sligo.

“When I leave college, I really want to work in the area of renewable energy, which is something that Kirby excels at, so I am particularly excited about entering the scholarship programme and gaining first-hand experience in this field,” she added.

Like McElvaney, McMillan’s love of engineering also began in school. The third-year electrical engineering student said she has been fascinated by engineering since her third year in secondary school when she learned how to rewire a plug. “I think that was a catalyst that started my journey into the career I’m pursuing now. When I graduate, I’d love to travel to other countries and broaden my knowledge of electrical engineering at an international level, focusing on projects in the areas of data centres and renewables. I know that Kirby runs really exciting programmes in these fields and it operates major projects all over the world so I feel very lucky to have been chosen for the scholarship programme.”

Limerick native Carr’s journey into engineering began when she took part in the I Wish STEM initiative as a child. She said that ever since she has been drawn to mechanical engineering, which she is now studying at the University of Galway. “I particularly enjoy the immersive side of the college course and I look forward to getting involved with projects when I begin my placement with Kirby.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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