Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, launched the Northern Ireland final of the First Lego League (FLL) interactive robotics challenge for young people.
The event has been brought to Northern Ireland for the first time by Invest NI, SAP Research, Queen’s University, W5 and the Institute of Engineering and Technology. FLL is designed to introduce children aged 9–16 to the fun of solving real-world problems by applying maths, science and technology.
Eighteen schools from across Northern Ireland are taking part in the challenge to design, build and programme a winning robot that must perform a series of set tasks linked to the theme of ‘Climate Connections’. The winning team will be invited to take part in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland final and may proceed to the World Festival in the United States.
Launching the tournament the Minister highlighted the importance of science in building a strong economy.
Arlene Foster said: “We need more students of science, technology, engineering and maths, who will progress into careers within knowledge-based industries. These industries, through a focus on innovation, research and development, are key to advancing our economy.”
The government has set a target of increasing the number of undergraduate students involved in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects by 25% by 2015.
The Minister continued: “This is a great example of collaboration between business, schools and government to really encourage innovative thinking and skills in our young people, which can only have a positive impact on their future skills and employability prospects.”