South-east to be a manufacturing skills hub with new 3D printing course
Participants will gain experience in a wide range of processing technologies, upskilling them for manufacturing careers in areas such as medtech, biopharma and aerospace.
A new one-year, part-time course in additive manufacturing has begun at the South East Technological University (SETU).
The aim of the programme is to create a pipeline of workers skilled in 3D printing – as additive manufacturing is more commonly known. This refers to the process of creating an object by printing or building it one layer at a time.
The Level 7 BSc in additive manufacturing at SETU is already fully subscribed for the first year.
The course is primarily aimed at upskilling people in the manufacturing industry in the south-east across a range of sectors, including aerospace, medtech, biopharma, agritech and precision engineering.
The course participants will have the opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of processing technologies, 3D printing platforms and materials.
SETU, which was established earlier this year from the amalgamation of Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology, has a suite of industrial metal and polymer 3D printers in Waterford and Carlow worth in excess of €3m.
“This course is a unique opportunity for students to try something in practice, it’s not just theoretical,” said course leader David Alarco.
“We will be utilising the labs and equipment in Waterford and Carlow. It’s important that students come out of the course with the exact knowledge and skills to be that proficient workforce.”
Alarco added that additive manufacturing represents a “fascinating ecosystem with huge opportunities for society, the environment and industry”.
“It is a green technology in the efficient way it uses material. Companies can manufacture locally, saving on transport, packaging and distribution costs. It is also far more innovative; you can make lighter and stronger parts, manufacture designs that were previously impossible and create goods tailored to the individual.”
The course costs €3,000. However, the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) is providing funding of €2,250 for each place and student fees of €750 apply for the full 60-credit degree.
HCI’s remit is investing in higher education programmes designed to fill skills gaps in the Irish workforce.
Next year, the development team behind the course will also roll out a series of shorter 10-credit awards. This will include certificates in areas such as an introduction to additive manufacturing, design, health and safety, and regulatory affairs, as well as lab technologies and post processing.
Reported by Blathnaid O’Dea (www.siliconrepublic.com)