SFI launches Smart Futures for CAO ‘change of mind’ students

19 Jun 2014

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), in preparation for the upcoming CAO ‘change of mind’ deadline on 1 July, has launched the Smart Futures initiative to inform future STEM students of what’s on offer.

Developed through the SFI Discover education and public engagement programme, Smart Futures is a Government-industry initiative providing access to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers information and role models to second-level students, parents, teachers and careers guidance counsellors in Ireland.

Released as an online resource, Smart Futures is aiming to demonstrate the considerably numerous opportunities open to post-primary students that study STEM subjects, including real-life career stories and video interviews with people working in sectors such as energy, engineering, cybersecurity, space research, biotechnology, medical devices, and food and sport science.

One of the most recent videos to be uploaded to the site features Dr Arlene O’Neill, physicist and science communicator at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), detailing her career journey to date.

Speaking of what the SFI hopes to achieve with Smart Futures, its director-general Prof Mark Ferguson said it will attempt to continue Ireland’s progress nationally and internationally with regard to STEM education. “Smart Futures is a key part of the Government’s plan to increase take-up of STEM subjects at third level by 10pc in the next three years.

“Last year, CAO applications to programmes in engineering and science constituted 4.6pc and 7.5pc of overall first preference applications respectively, an increase on the previous year. We are seeing an increase in student participation in and engagement with STEM through groups such as CoderDojo, for example. Progress is being made.”

STEM image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic