Social Sciences

Enterprising Shared Learning Project

U3A Northern Ireland SLP

This unusual Shared Learning Project is at its heart about mentoring and supporting a group of local students as they develop their business idea.  The young inventors are from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Bangor, County Down, and the four budding engineers won top prize in an enterprise competition by devising an innovative fishing trawler safety mechanism.

As a U3A member I was part of the judging panel who felt that the winners demonstrated a high level of research and professionalism.

Other U3A members were extremely impressed by the quality of the work and the enthusiasm of the students and we are delighted to be supporting them in a Shared Learning Project (SLP) as they develop their winning idea into a working model.

This SLP is called the ANCPOS Project (Advanced Numerical Control Panel Operating System) and the students’ task was to reduce the hazards of winch operation on small fishing vessels through a more efficient and automated remote control system

The Shared Learning group allows us to support the students as they develop the engineering and commercial viability of the idea.  The group which has met six times includes the four students, three members from SERC and six mentors from U3A.

In my role as Chair of this collaborative College / U3A project, I contacted key people in public agencies including the umbrella organisation representing commercial fishing interests from Northern Ireland, called Seafish NI.  Together with the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation they have generously given £1000 to help the students build and trial a working prototype which we hope to see completed by early September 2018.

“It is unusual for U3A to provide mentoring in this capacity through a learning project and we are very excited to be involved.”