Apr 19, 2005

Seagate Helps Engineer Students' Future

NORTHERN IRELAND - Over the past six months, a Seagate engineer has been honing the skills of local students and helping to inspire interest in high-technology careers.

As part of the Engineering Education Scheme, Seagate has forged a partnership with students from Limavady Grammar School. The initiative, which aims to increase the number of high-ability young people entering the creative levels of engineering, is organised by Sentinus - one of the largest providers of business/education activity in the U.K.

Under the programme, teams of four students are tasked with researching and developing an industrial project based on an actual problem within their host company. Participating companies provide the skills and knowledge of their experienced engineers, who mentor the students on the specific projects. The students benefit from the development of a range of skills and experience that such a practical, business-related project delivers.

Peter Mitchell, a senior engineer at the company's Limavady facility, mentored the students through their project, which involved developing a measurement system using digital microscope photography that will help reduce scrap. This project involved them working within the polish area of the Limavady facility where Seagate produces nickel-plated aluminium substrates, the core material on which computer hard disc drives read, write and store digital information.

"I've really enjoyed working on our project," said Richard Boyd, one of the students. "It's given us a taste of what it's like to work and solve problems in a high-tech company."

Once the groundwork was done, the student group prepared a written report on their project and formally presented their findings at the recent showcase finale - a public exhibition and ceremony at the University of Ulster's Jordanstown campus.

"The young people have worked very hard on this project," said Mitchell. "Their ability to take complex issues, break them down into mini projects and then set about coming up with innovative and practical solutions is a credit to their personal ability and education. This is an excellent scheme that gives the engineers of tomorrow an opportunity to put the theory into practice."

Ken Smith, a physics teacher at Limavady Grammar School, added, "The Engineering Education Scheme is an important opportunity for our students to get some hands-on experience of how engineering theory and techniques can be applied to problem solving in the real world. Having a company of the calibre of Seagate to support the project and provide practical support and advice through mentors like Peter is an invaluable part of the learning experience for these students."

Sentinus was created as a result of the merger of NISTRO and Industry Matters and is one of the largest providers of business/education activity in the United Kingdom. Through the establishment of partnerships between education and industry the organisation creates an awareness of the exciting opportunities available to young people in science, engineering and technology and on their development in readiness for the world of work.

As part of a national network of SETPOINT's, Sentinus will continue to have a strong focus on young people, from 5 to 19 years old, and enhancing their life skills through challenging and exciting experiences with an industrial focus.

Further information can be obtained from Sentinus on Belfast (028) 9262 7755.

About Seagate
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, and Consumer Electronics applications. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

Seagate has two facilities in Northern Ireland, employing over 1,800 people between them. At the Springtown wafer fabrication facility, the Company develops and manufactures the recording heads, which write information onto and read information from the recording disc inside a computer's hard drive. The Company's Limavady facility produces nickel-plated aluminium substrates, the core material on which computer hard disc drives read, write and store digital information.

Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are U.S. registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC.