Ulster Business December 2021

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Full STEM ahead at Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel


t is one of the world’s largest suppliers of aircraft seating solutions for commercial and business jets, with over 350 sites and 200,000 employees globally, and since 1966, Collins Aerospace has provided employment to Kilkeel and the surrounding areas. The Raytheon Technologies-owned global giant is renowned for its partnerships with leading airlines and recently announced its partnership with British Airways to upgrade its 777 fleet, however it is also leading the way in nurturing younger talent and offering opportunities to those wanting to pursue a career within the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields. Each year, Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel offers internships for up to 15 students across various disciplines including the manufacturing, supply chain, logistics and environmental health departments. This is in addition to partnering with Queen’s University Belfast’s Mechanical School of Engineering to offer 12-month internships to the top performing students from its Engineering Leadership Programme. Interns are also offered the opportunity to apply for financial support and a graduate role following completion of their degree, which has proved popular for the company, acting as a talent pipeline.

Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel is leading the way in nurturing younger talent by offering a number of opportunities to those wanting to pursue a career within the STEM field

related activities, explore a selection of products manufactured by the company, and hear from employees and influential people within the industry. School students are also encouraged to use their creativity and innovation to design and build their own quadcopter as part of Raytheon’s annual UK Quadcopter Challenge.

And it’s not just university students that are encouraged to pursue careers within STEM.

The progressive and forward-thinking company is continually seeking ways to encourage younger students to pursue STEM-related careers, and earlier this year, partnered with STEM Hub NI to recruit a number of ‘STEM Ambassadors’ within the facility. These ambassadors are encouraged to volunteer at STEM related corporate programmes within the local community and schools, and in doing so raise the profile of the careers that are possible within STEM fields.

Collins Aerospace hosts the annual ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’ event, which celebrated its 20th year in 2021. The event sees female students from local schools visit the facility (pre-Covid), where they undertake STEM

Opportunities for career progression are also readily available. A number of Kilkeel’s employees and senior management team have progressed in their career, including managing director, Stuart McKee.

Numerous graduate roles are available each year, with several graduate development opportunities available to support and develop graduates in the transition from university to workplace.


Speaking about the importance of STEM, Stuart said: “It’s vital that from a young age, we encourage young men and particularly, young women to consider a career in a STEM-related field, and ignite that engineering spark and curiosity. There is a perception that engineering is primarily a male-dominated career, but Collins Aerospace wants to redefine that view. “It’s our responsibility to change the world for the better and by focusing on STEM and supporting educational initiatives that inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and business professionals, we are being the change we want to see. With many opportunities in Collins Aerospace and a progressive career development path, we would encourage anyone with an interest in STEM subjects to pursue what is sure to be a rewarding and exciting career.” π

For more information on the current opportunities available within Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, visit jobs.collinsaerospace.com

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