Ireland needs at least 20% of its current 916,000 students to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) if we are to maintain our global reputation as one of the foremost locations for technological innovation: this is the message organisers of this year’s STEM South West Expo, which will take place 6 April from 5-9pm, want to get out to schools all across the country.
STEM South West is an industry-run initiative which brings together major tech, pharma, science and engineering players in Ireland (alongside SMEs excelling in these sectors) to stage an annual STEM exhibition to inform young minds of the benefits a future career in STEM could hold.
Returning for its third year in a virtual format, the expo is free to all Irish students and will provide insight into a large variety of potential career paths.
At the launch of the event on An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin said this year’s expo is more meaningful than ever.
“As we emerge from a global pandemic, Ireland is making great headway in increasing employment figures, however, our skills shortage is emerging as a real barrier to the growth and development of our economy – and this is particularly applicable to the ICT (information communications technology) sector,” he said.
“We must start thinking long term. We must let the teenagers of today know how much we will need their knowledge and talent in the years to come. We must help them along this road. But first, we must show them just how rewarding and exciting a career in our industry can be for them – and the endless possibilities that lie ahead should they choose to study anything in this field.
“There is now a digital aspect to every industry and every sector you can imagine, so regardless of your passion and interests having a foothold in a STEM subject is surely going to advance your chances of success in the working world,” he added.
The line up of speakers and exhibitors for the event include Michael Manning, who is a trackside engineer for Formula 1 Racing; and Susan Hayes Culleton, who is managing director at Hayes Culleton Group and known as “The Positive Economist”. The expo will include a “Virtual Exhibition Hall”, host industry panel discussions and offer an opportunity to network through their video chat application. It will also include a host of technology demonstrations showcasing STEM products and systems in action.
Chair of STEM South West Marguerite O’Sullivan said it is “testament to the success of previous years that we have been able to draw such a plethora of high calibre industry experts and organisations to participate in this year’s event”.