Ireland needs at least 20% of its young learners to consider a career in STEM

If the country is to remain one of the foremost locations in the world for the tech industry, we need a significant percentage of students to consider pursing STEM
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15 March 2022

Ireland needs at least 20% of the 916,000 children and young learners currently in its schools to consider a career in STEM if the country is to be able to maintain its trajectory as one of the foremost locations in the world for the tech industry. This is according to a group of industry leaders who have today launched STEM South West Expo 2022.

Back for a third year, the virtual exhibition, which is free to students from all over the country, aims to bring younger learners to the fascinating and exciting world of STEM, with a view to giving these great minds of tomorrow a glimpse into the huge array of possibilities and opportunities that await if they choose a career in any of the STEM disciplines.

Organisers reported the ‘significant’ impact the event has had in its short history with nine in 10 students who attended previous events saying that they would now be more likely to choose a career in STEM having attended the virtual Expo.

 

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The Expo will be held on 6 April and will feature some of the country’s largest employers exhibiting to students, parents/guardians, guidance counsellors and job seekers alike. Exhibitors include Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Synthes, Gilead Sciences, Plas Engineering, MTU, UCC, PM Group, PepsiCo, and Astellas.

“It is testament to the success of previous years that we have been able to draw such a plethora of high calibre industry experts and organisations to participate in this year’s event,” said Marguerite O’Sullivan, chairperson of STEM South West. “The level of engagement from key industry figures demonstrates just how important this event is. Those who work in the industry and have a passion for their work wish to relay this passion to those coming up the ranks behind them. We want to ensure that STEM industries in the South West continue to shine and prosper for the good of the region, the country and the world.”

Shane Ruddle, director, manufacturing engineering, Gilead Sciences said: “The work that STEM South West is doing to promote STEM in schools is absolutely integral, not just to the sector itself, but to the futures of our young students and the economic interests of the country as a whole. We need to act now to ensure that our current STEM industry base is secured, that new companies are attracted to locate in Ireland,  that our start-ups and SMEs are given the opportunity to thrive, and that the students of today are given the skills to tackle the global challenges of tomorrow. STEM South West is driving a collective response to this – everyone is rowing in to ensure that we showcase the incredible range of opportunities that the STEM sector has to offer across the South West.”

“STEM provides fantastic opportunities for women. STEM roles are interesting, rewarding and fulfilling,” O’Sullivan added. “They provide the opportunity to make a real difference in the world in which we live and for the people we care about. STEM organisations are actively seeking to achieve gender balance across all areas of their operations and across all levels within their organisations. Too many girls discontinue their interest in STEM subjects during the Leaving Certificate cycle. This is an issue that STEM South West is determined to tackle to ensure that these girls get every opportunity to fulfil their potential in the highly rewarding world of STEM.”

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