STEM Insights with Jenny Navan, Cpl

We caught up recently with Jenny Navan of Cpl and we are looking forward to working more with her in the coming year as we promote skills and careers in STEM.

Jenny is the Director of Cpls’ Science & Engineering recruitment team. Cpl is a total talent solutions organisation, part of the multinational OSI group. The Science and Engineering division have been operating in the Irish and international market for the past 25 years, and Jenny has worked in the team for 17 of those. Jenny has recruited for scientists and engineers, at all levels of operation, in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food and clinical sector, and has developed a big interest in the sector as a result. Jenny has been involved in promoting studying STEM at second and tertiary level with Science Foundation Ireland and Midlands Science, sat on advisory committees for curriculum design at tertiary level, and has been involved in promoting science communication through the Alchemist Café and FameLab.

Can you tell us a little about your own background and your role in Cpl ?

As Director within Cpl, I am active in engaging with companies who are considering expanding their operations within Ireland, as well as speaking with companies already operating within the island. Leading a team of specialist recruiters, who recruit for permanent and contingent labour, I have a great sense of the challenges and opportunities facing the STEM sector.

Unfortunately I knew nothing about what studying a science subject would entail, actually I had very narrow and misguided ideas about only dissecting frogs, or working in a lab doing “boring” things, so I never pursued it in secondary school, and it’s something I regret to this day. Which I why I’m so keen to promote studying STEM and the opportunities that are available careerwise.

Why is it important to promote greater engagement with STEM ?

While I can see broadly that STEM promotion and education is reaching more, there’s still many who don’t realise the opportunities studying STEM may provide, or just how important it is to have some literacy in the space

As we are all more focussed on sustainability these days, many of the jobs in the sustainability sector are based on STEM skills – is this something you have observed and do you think this will change in the future ?

Yes, there’s a lot of emphasis on sustainability, and STEM skills are so critical for that – not just because we need to design new technology or product – but because critical thinking, design thinking and problem solving are so integral to STEM – and that is what is so needed now to shift us globally to a more sustainable way of doing everything. This won’t change any time soon, but it will keep filtering through every element of society and part of the workforce.

What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in STEM ?

STEM is so broad, your options are endless, but it’s a career area that you can constantly learn in, evolve in, and travel the world, should you so wish!

Do you have a favourite science fact ?

There are more stars in the universe, than grains of sand on the planet