Northern Ireland’s growing economy needs more students to take up careers in science and technology if the increasing level of knowledge-led investment in the region is to be fully exploited, according to Invest Northern Ireland.
Science and education were the focus of a two day event at Stranmillis College, organised by the Northern Ireland Association of Science Education (ASE) and supported by Invest NI.
Speaking at the event, Carol Keery, Head of National Programmes, Invest NI said: “Levels of knowledge-based investment are increasing and on a global scale Northern Ireland is really making its mark thanks to the level of high quality R&D being carried out locally by both industry and academia.
“What happens in our schools will determine Northern Ireland’s future as a scientifically confident society. Fewer students are choosing science and technology focused academic and career paths. We urgently need to address this issue to ensure that we have a pool of talented individuals to fully exploit the opportunities presented by the growth in the knowledgebase.
“With innovation at the heart of our economy, the future depends on our ability to provide a skilled and talented workforce which can meet wide ranging employment requirements. This means ensuring that our young people realise that opportunities in science and technology aren’t limited to traditional roles such as medicine, biochemistry or aeronautical engineering. There are many broader roles which can help innovative businesses to prosper and grow.”
Lorna Monroe, Chair of ASE NI added: “In recent years, there has been a drop in the level of students choosing science and technology focused courses and careers. This two day event has been designed to help the education sector revitalise interest in science and technology so that we can encourage students of all levels and abilities to take a fresh look at science and technology courses and the multitude of careers which are available in these areas.”