Pupils from Larne Grammar School recently had the opportunity to learn about innovative local firm,Kilwaughter Minerals, who produce a range of high quality products for the local and national construction and agriculture sectors.
The tour was organised through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Manufacturing Task Force, as part of engagement activities for the Science Summer School - a STEAM Initiative that is being hosted in Northern Ireland for the first time ever in Ballymena this November.
The Science Summer School aims to inspire young people to become the next generation of scientists with a programme that mixes the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) through a series of seminars, discussions and hands-on experiments.
During the visit, the pupils heard from Kilwaughter Minerals staff Fiona Byrne, Head of Organisational Development, David Smyth, Financial Director and Gavin Creech, Product Manager for K-Systems, who spoke about the importance of private sector organisations engaging with educational institutions and investing in the wider community.
Kilwaughter is a key employer in Mid and East Antrim and one which has continued to invest in its headquarters and surrounding environment. The company prides itself on its continued commitment to Larne, its ongoing engagement with young people and the investment in the local community - through its Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategies.
During the visit, the students had the opportunity to learn more about what makes a major manufacturing company work. The tour of the manufacturing plant included an insight into product development, R&D, business development, quality assessment and quarrying.
Graham Whitehurst MBE, Chair of the Manufacturing Task Force (MTF), commented:
“The Manufacturing Task Force (MTF), is an industry-led initiative which supports and stimulates the area’s manufacturing and engineering sector. Kilwaughter Minerals is one of our MTF members who have a primary focus on implementing skills initiatives to ensure a pipeline of talent in this sector.
This visit allowed students to directly engage with a key employer in the area and thus support future skills needs and provide an opportunity for companies to help drive recruitment into our Borough’s advanced manufacturing sector.”
Fiona Byrne, Head of Organisational Development for Kilwaughter Minerals, said the firm’s expansion in recent years meant it had to “grow in scale and scope”, which in turn necessitates talent. She further explained:
“It is through first-hand experiences such as this that will help educate and inform young people across the Borough of the many opportunities available in the manufacturing sector - roles which include engineering, research and development, sales, marketing, human resources, quality control and production”.