Volunteer profile: Krzysztof Swiac
We caught up with some of our volunteers to talk about why they volunteer and the benefits of volunteering with the STEPS programme.
What's your name and how are you involved as a volunteer with STEPS?
I'm Krzysztof Swiac from Wexford. I'm a STEPS Role Model in primary schools.
What type of engineer are you?
Since my graduation in June 2001 I've worked as a civil engineer on a wide range of projects. My current position is Factory Production Control manager. I also supervise design and manufacture of all prototype units and I carry out full scale tests, regular internal audits and training. For the last 14 years I have solved many engineering problems and I want to tackle more. My current personal goal is to solve a crack propagation problem in concrete walls loaded in two directions and to write a PhD thesis about it.
How and why did you get involved with STEPS?
I got involved with STEPS as I wanted to help promote engineering.
What type of volunteering have you done with the STEPS programme? Briefly describe the experience.
I visited Our Lady of Lourdes NS (Bunclody, County Wexford) during Engineers Week 2015. I carried out three presentations to the students from 3rd to 6th class.
I was delighted I could share some of my knowledge and experience with the students. I brought with me a typical stairs construction drawing, a few engineering tools (measuring tape, calliper, spirit level, etc) and samples of concrete and reinforcing bars to explain why, how and where engineers are using them. I presented Personal Protective Equipment to familiarise them with how important it is to protect our health and safety, especially on a building site.
I presented how different types of engineers are involved in designing and making a wide range of products which are used in everyday life. I also encouraged students to enjoy maths, physics and science. The students were very interested, they interacted with me and asked many different questions. It seemed that they liked it as after my presentation some of them (both boys and girls) said they would now consider engineering as a suitable profession for them.
What is the best part of volunteering with STEPS so far? What benefits do you get?
It's a great chance to meet interesting people and share knowledge and experience. As a volunteer, I get to increase my communication and presentation skills. And I earn CPD credits for volunteering.
What advice would you give to someone who's thinking of volunteering?
Children are very interested in engineering activities and like to solve engineering problems. Don’t be afraid to join the STEPS programme to help promote engineering as an interesting profession for everyone.
What were you like as a student at school?
During my time at school I always excelled in my exams, which in turn allowed me to qualify for student grants. This helped me to become financially self-dependent so I could invest part of this money to buy technical books and computer software, which helped me to increase my knowledge and qualifications. In June 2001 I graduated from the Wroclaw University of Technology with the title of Master of Science in Civil Engineering, with the overall grade of 'very good' (which is the top result in Poland).