Rugby legend in scrum position to promote maths in schools

21 Jan 2010

Irish rugby legend and engineering and maths graduate Malcolm O’Kelly will be taking time out of his busy schedule next month to volunteer his time to go back to his old school and enthuse students about maths.

O’Kelly was educated at Templeogue College and holds an engineering degree and a Masters degree in mathematics from Trinity College Dublin.

Engineers Week

He will be one of a number of engineers around the country who will be visiting schools to encourage students to boost maths performance as part of Engineers Week 2010.

O’Kelly will give a maths tutorial on 11 February at his old school. “Having studied engineering and maths I understand the doors that these subjects can open for people.

“I pursued a career in rugby but I’ve kept close links with the engineering sector and I am currently taking a project management course. I believe my future will be in engineering and I’d encourage all students to consider engineering as a real career choice.”

Engineers Week is a campaign held annually by Engineers Ireland to promote engineering as a career and the importance of the industry to Ireland.

Volunteer Day on Thursday, 11 February, Engineers Ireland’s first national volunteer day, will be a key day in Engineers Week 2010, which runs from 8-13 February.

Working with students

On that day, it is planned that volunteer engineers, with the co-operation of local schools, will enter classes across the country and spend a few hours working with pre-junior certificate students to improve their knowledge and appreciation of maths through puzzles and work sheets.

“Engineers Ireland believes there is a direct link between the decreasing numbers studying maths and the shortage of engineers entering Irish industry,” said John Power, Engineers Ireland director general.

“Leaving Certificate results showed that just 16pc of students took honours maths which is down on the 2008 figures. We need our students to become more comfortable with maths as it is a fundamental building block towards a career in engineering,” he said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years