New three-year plan aims to boost student interest in STEM subjects

Student applications for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at third-level are set to increase as a three-year plan is launched to raise awareness about career opportunities in the STEM industry among secondary school students.

The plan was launched by Science Foundation Ireland and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.

SFI hope to train up to 450 volunteers by 2016, to teach students about the STEM industry on roadshows and school visits throughout Ireland.

University of College Cork student, Shane O’Donnell, has been recruited by SFI to become an ambassador for Smart Futures.

O’Donnell said, “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.”science

DCU Science and Engineering students have also expressed their views and excitement on the launch of the Smart Futures initiative.

Matthew Nulty, an engineering student, told The College View, “I think the plan is a good idea because most students at second level need to do their own research, it would be helpful to have trained STEM professionals to inform students on the subjects.”

His classmates Liam Faulkner and Thomas Ryan agreed with Thomas adding, “there should be more talks for these courses and there should also be trips planned, for example the geography field study trips. This could help students in experiencing what it is like to work in the STEM industry”.

Science and Health Convenor, Conor Palin-Stewart, also gave his views on the Smart Futures initiative saying, “I believe that the new initiative to be launched by Minister Richard Bruton will be a great boost to the already good up take in studying areas of science, technology, engineering and maths. The sector is still growing with increase in research and investments from multinational companies in Ireland. I can only see this new plan as a good thing, especially due to the creation of jobs from these multinational companies, which will hopefully be filled by Irish graduates due to this new initiative”.

Nicola Ayres

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