He has 37 years of experience teaching Fabrication and Welding at North West Regional College, she’s a 20 year-old apprentice from Germany about to dip her toe in the field of Engineering.
But during a recent Erasmus + exchange programme, student Stefanie Seitlinger from Engelsberg and NWRC lecturer at the college’s Springtown Campus Gerry Burke found they had something to teach each other.
Stefanie got to try her hand at welding for the first time, while Gerry got to refine his already accomplished skills in speaking the German language.
Every year through Erasmus+ funding, staff and students from NWRC have the opportunity to visit European countries undertaking study or completing traineeships across all areas of the curriculum, and in return welcome students from across Europe to experience education and training programmes in the North West.
Stefanie is currently studying to become a Mechanical Engineer at Staatliche Berufsschule Traunstein and works as an apprentice with Heideehain.
She said: “I applied to Erasmus because I always wanted to visit Ireland. The trip has been an opportunity to improve my English and to see how the work is done in Ireland. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Gerry Burke at Springtown who has given me great help and guidance. Welding is a skill that’s very new to me and at Springtown I’ve been able to get hands on experience.
“Like Ireland, in my country there are not a lot of women working in this field, but it is improving.”
Gerry Burke, Lecturer, said that as well as attending NWRC’s Springtown Campus, Stefanie has also been on work placement with MIM.
He added: “Stefanie has shown good understanding and is a quick learner, once she grabs a concept that is it.
“She’s been helping me with my German.
“NWRC has welcomed students from a number of European countries over the years and it has always been an enjoyable experience for the staff and students to learn from the visitors as well as let them transfer their own skills to us.”
Bronagh Fikri, North West Regional College’s European & International Projects Officer said: “The college was delighted to welcome Stefanie to the college and we were delighted to arrange training in Engineering, which is the field she is studying in her home town.
“We continue to develop and establish new partnerships thanks to our participation in the Erasmus + programme. These partnerships have resulted in knowledge and skill transfer which has enriched our staff and students.”