Young innovators converge in Belfast to show off their STEM projects

19 Jun 2012

Pictured are Jay Kennedy and Jack McDonald from Kells and Conor Primary School in Ballymena, Co Antrim putting the final touches to their robotics project

Students from across Northern Ireland were at the Sentinus Young Innovators Exhibition in Belfast City’s Odyssey Arena today to showcase their projects that they have been working on over the past year.

The annual showcase is held by Sentinus, a Lisburn-based not-for-profit educational charity that works with schools and colleges throughout Northern Ireland to deliver programmes around engaging in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects.
At the event young innovators ranging from primary and post-primary to further and higher education colleges showcased their innovative projects that they had developed throughout the academic year with the support of Sentinus ambassadors and local industry partners.

The projects were judged by over 160 industry experts, all of whom volunteer their time to help progress the STEM agenda in Northern Ireland.

STEM talent

Speaking at the event Brian Campbell, chief executive of Sentinus, said that the projects on display at the Young Innovators event highlight the talent that lies in Northern Ireland’s education institutions.

However, he said that there is still a “major skills shortage” which is impeding the ability of companies to develop and expand in Northern Ireland.

“It is imperative that we continue to support the provision of STEM education in Northern Ireland if we are to produce and staff more STEM-based businesses that will contribute to economic growth for the region,” he said.

Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Minster Arlene Foster was also at today’s event. She said that if Northern Ireland is to compete successfully in global markets, it needs to see many more of its young people engaged in studying the STEM subjects.

“That is why I am heartened to see so many of our next generation of entrepreneurs, technologists and innovators here today,” said Foster.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic