A new three-year strategy for Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Smart Futures initiative aims to increase the uptake of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at second and third level by 10pc by 2016.
Smart Futures is a partnership between Government, industry and educators that provides post-primary students, guidance counsellors and parents with career supports in STEM. The new three-year strategy aims to raise awareness of STEM career opportunities among these groups of people by encouraging industry to play an increased role in the initiative.
As part of the new strategy, Ireland's Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation wants to build a database of volunteers to deliver STEM career advice to all secondary schools throughout the country by training more than 450 volunteers from STEM industries and SFI research centres by 2016, as well as offering industry opportunities to participate and support more student outreach activities.
“Bar none, the issue that I encounter most frequently in the boardrooms of multinational companies considering creating jobs in Ireland is talent," said Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, in launching the strategy today.
“Equally, having access to skilled and qualified workers is hugely important for Irish companies looking to expand. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are skills and qualifications that are necessary for young job-seekers for so many of the new jobs that the economy is creating.”
Also, as part of the strategy, Clare hurler Shane O’Donnell, who is studying genetics at University College Cork (UCC), has been selected as the SFI’s ambassador for Smart Futures in a bid to create a greater connection with young people in encouraging the push towards STEM-related careers.
“As a current student of genetics at UCC, I have a huge passion for science,” said O’Donnell.
“I feel it’s important to challenge the negative stereotypes about people that work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I’m excited to encourage students to consider a career in STEM, which can be very rewarding; offering a chance to make a difference in the world and contribute to society in a meaningful way.”
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