The importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines for the future well-being of Ireland’s economy is critical and cannot be underestimated but in the current environment, there is an unquestionable lack of available skills in these fields. The technology sector however, is currently thriving so choosing a STEM career unlocks a range of employment opportunities for young people across the country. Cpl has been working with Midlands Science and other partners over the past number of years to help ensure that Ireland continues to produce the levels of highly skilled graduates that are required and we hope that collectively, we can work towards reducing the declining number of students applying to related STEM courses

I was delighted to receive my offer to study Nanoscience at TCD. I have loved science from a very young age and think it is so important to start encouraging pupils as early as primary school level about what an adventure it can be to explore science and all its wonders. Events such as the Midlands Science Festival ensure that children as young as five years old have the opportunity to see how certain elements of science work, but in a more fun and often lighthearted way. I dressed up as a scientist for a primary school fashion show years ago; that’s how young I was when I fell in love with science!

The Midlands Science SWIM project places a strong emphasis on utilising experienced role models and champions from those in the education and corporate sectors to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology. I was delighted to see one of these inspirational speaker in my son’s school as the Midlands is now home to several multinational companies but it can be difficult for young people to understand what it is like to work in one of them. Overall, it is critical to encourage more participation in science throughout the whole education system and SWIM is taking that step in the right direction.

As a science lecturer for the past 25 years, I am aware of the challenges that still exist when it comes to trying to attract young people into science courses and careers particularly in the educationally challenged Midlands region. I have witnessed how increasingly popular Midlands Science Festival events are becoming as they work to attract people of all ages including students and parents with a variety of different activities going on throughout the week across the region. The Midlands Science Festival is now a valuable voice in the Midlands each November and I strongly believe that it really is instrumental in the work we are trying to collectively do to instill a passion of STEM subjects in order to ensure the next generation of local scientists and engineers.

‘The staff at Killina Secondary School were pleased to work with Midlands Science during ‘Engineers Week’ to deliver some very interesting talks about the world of engineering to students in Co. Offaly. We believe that it is very important to demonstrate to students the vast diversity of both science and engineering in a practical and easy to understand manner and both speakers provided this opportunity for us on the day. We had Dr Enda Fallon from Athlone Institute of Technology and Gerry Buckley from local IT company, NIS. We will actively continue to encourage our students to consider the whole field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and showing them how it impacts our lives on an everyday basis is a great way to do this.’

‘We are really proud to be working with the team at Midlands Science to deliver a vast array of events, performances and exhibitions with a scientific twist. We are particularly excited about the Science Book Club initiative which will hopefully encourage our readers of all ages to choose a Science themed read as part of the Science Week Celebrations.’

‘Irish Manufacturing Research was delighted to join forces with local development company Midlands Science for Science Week 2018 in celebrating the world of science and technology here in the Midlands. It is very important for IMR as a company to provide the local student population with inspiring experiences of science and to do so as early as possible in their education in order to try to ignite that spark or love for science. We hope that by providing some workshops in a fun and interactive way, that we will encourage young people to become curious and want to learn and do more in a science environment. We are passionate about our role of encouraging the workforce of the future and events like the Midlands Science Festival which introduce science in an informative yet engaging way can have a really positive influence on students’ perceptions of the world and how important science is in so many ways.’

‘Science Education is a very important subject in the primary curriculum and we are always looking for innovative ways to bring science to life in the classroom. Through hosting workshops like this in our school, we hope that the girls will be inspired to develop a deeper interest in science and improve their science skills. By fostering an interest in science at an early age the foundations are laid which can then be built on as the child progresses through primary school and transfers to secondary school. We would love to facilitate further workshops in the future and with your support the future of STEM subjects is looking bright.

‘It is very important to us as a company to continue to play an important role in creating awareness around science education and indeed science based careers and also in promoting the message that science is so important in our day to day lives. By working with Midlands Science in providing informative career talks to second level students or sponsoring interactive, hands-on workshops for younger pupils, we hope that Integra can contribute towards the overall objective of inspiring more and more young people to consider science when it comes to future subject and career choices.’