Irish teen girls get a chance to build robots for the future

18 Aug 2022

Rayza Onog and Daniella Nwaedozie with mentor Milena Kalita. Image: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Irish Manufacturing Research and Teen-Turn are giving girls across the country first-hand experience of building a robot.

Teen-Turn is encouraging girls across Ireland to experiment with building robots.

The Irish charity is focused on providing opportunities to teen girls to experience STEM careers and have fun while learning about science, technology and more.

Its latest robot-themed initiative is a collaboration with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), the organisation that provides research, training and consultancy services to industry across Ireland.

As part of the scheme, kits have been posted to girls in locations throughout Ireland, and they have been able to spend every day working on the construction and programming of a robotic arm.

The kits used are provided by Adeept, an open-source hardware manufacturer specialising in products for makers.

The girls taking part are supervised in person by Teen-Turn mentors. They have also had online sessions with IMR volunteers, who take them through the basics of robot building.

Digitisation and automation have created new tech jobs in the manufacturing sector, and robotics is a key skill to have as technology evolves. This programme is aiming to show its young participants the opportunities for manufacturing production careers in Ireland.

The girls will be given the chance to present their robots and be rewarded for their hard work with a field trip to IMR’s Cobotics Lab in Mullingar this Friday (19 August).

As with all of Teen-Turn’s programmes, this project is catering particularly to girls from underserved and underrepresented communities. Participants are from secondary schools around Ireland and some have been referred to Teen-Turn through organisations such as the Cork Migrant Centre.

In March of this year, Teen-Turn partnered with The Digital Hub in Dublin to offer classes to teenage girls on a variety of topics, from AI to programming and physics.

It piloted the classes as part of a programme, called Teen-Turn Plus, to address the gender divide in STEM careers. The classes were made available to Teen-Turn participants living or attending secondary schools around the Dublin 8 area.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.