Monday, May 9, 2011

Northern Ireland duo progress in mechatronics

Festo is supplying all the equipment for the Mechatronics and Mobile Robotics competitions.
Mechatronics duo Chris Downey (left) and Mark Maginty from Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland have set their sights on selection for Team UK to go forward and compete in the 41st WorldSkills Competition in London later this year. They have already been selected as members of Squad UK which consists of young people, aged 18 to 24, who are currently in training for a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills 2011. Festo, as founding global partner of WorldSkills and official sponsor of the Mechatronics and Mobile Robotics competitions, is supplying the equipment, as well as assisting in the competition organisation for both these skills categories.

Chris and Mark had their first taste of international competition at Euroskills in Lisbon (P) in December 2010 and since then they have been undergoing specialist training and performance coaching in preparation for the UK team selection in June. Training Manager and Senior Engineering Lecturer at NRC, David Russell said, “Both students have shown considerable enthusiasm and commitment to this competition and have continued to enhance and develop the skills necessary to perform on a world stage. If successful at the team selection stage, both Chris and Mark will undergo further training with Festo in Stuttgart, Germany in late June and a specialist training camp in Estonia, as final preparation for the competition. The support offered by UKSkills and Festo GB have allowed for the acquisition of specialist mechatronics training stations and equipment which should further enhance the training experience.”
To further develop their competition experience, they are currently attending competitions in Ireland, the Netherlands and Finland. NRC is delighted with their success to date and wish them both every success as they move forward in the competition.

The Mechatronics competition reflects reality on the shop floor – people working under pressure to design, implement solutions, maintain and constantly improve production and fix machines quickly when faults occur. Competitors enter as teams of two, reflecting the philosophy that only people working in a team – constantly learning from each other – can master the challenges of manufacturing excellence.

Promoting apprenticeships and generating enthusiasm for technology is important to Festo. “Education, innovation and technology are the key factors for further expanding our technological peak performance. Festo supports top performance in the areas of training and international educational standards by means of national and international projects such as WorldSkills Mechatronics”, explains Dr. Eberhard Veit, chairman of the Management board at Festo AG, “and we are very much looking forward to the WordSkills 2011 London events.”

Chris Downey and Mark Maginty are both in their second year of the BTEC HND Electrical/Electronic Engineering programme at the Farm Lodge Campus in Ballymena. Chris, who is employed by Michelin, is funded by UKSkills to allow him to attend further training to compete at the level required for this prestigious competition. Mark works for Russell Electrical Contractors and is also funded by UKSkills to support his progress in this competition.

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