Fifteen Engineering students selected from DIT and IT Tallaght took part in a hands-on pilot programme supported by Intel Ireland to develop the skills necessary to work on the manufacturing of high-spec microprocessors for computers.
The two-week programme, which was developed under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Intel and DIT in 2017, is designed as the pilot for a Continuous Professional Development course titled, “Manufacturing Operations in Cleanroom Environments”. Cleanroom environments are designed to maintain extremely low levels of particulates, such as dust, airborne organisms, or vaporized particles - essential conditions in the manufacturing of microprocessors.
During the accredited programme, the students attended the Fast Track to IT (FIT) Centre in Celbridge, where they experienced hands-on learning on the customized electrical and pneumatics training panels, as well as exercises with mechanical gears and linkages.
In a second week hosted by IT Tallaght, the students fabricated semiconductor capacitors in the Fab Lab, using typical silicon wafer cleaning, deposition, lithography and etching steps, and ultimately device measurement to understand the quality of the process work undertaken. The students who fabricated the best group of devices were awarded a prize of an Intel powered Chrome notebook each.
A full day was then hosted by Intel Ireland. The students received a safety presentation by Corporate Independent Safety Trainer, Jennifer Deeney, a site tour of Intel, and completed the LEAN Manufacturing course, a team-based exercise in optimizing model racing car building.
The goal of the CPD programme is to increase awareness of the type of work performed in advanced cleanroom manufacturing environments. It also aims to enhance troubleshooting and problem solving skills of potential Manufacturing Technicians (MTs). The course was developed under the “Talent Pipeline” strand of the DIT Memorandum of Understanding, which aims to raise awareness and interest among students in future MT roles.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Eamonn Sinnott, General Manager, Intel Ireland said to the graduating students, “The most complex electronic product made by humans is being manufactured right here, by people just like you. Our Manufacturing Technicians strive to be excellent every day in everything they do, building the world’s state-of-the-art microprocessors. By honing the skills you have experienced on this course, you too can add to the great story being created by the people here at Intel Ireland.”
The pilot programme is now being fully evaluated by the students and staff at DIT, IT Tallaght and Intel. The goal is to develop pathways to grow and sustain the programme, making it available to a much wider cohort of future talent.
A version of this story was originally published on the Intel Ireland news page here.