Press Release

Assembly Committees Agree STEM is Cool

Session: 2013/2014

Date: Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Reference: EDUC 01/13/14

An event to highlight the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, involving over 60 organisations, was held today in Parliament Buildings.

The Assembly's Education; Employment and Learning; Enterprise, Trade and Investment; and Culture, Arts and Leisure Committees worked in partnership with the Northern Ireland Science Park to look at STEM's critical importance to the Northern Ireland economy and emphasise the many exciting and varied careers available.

Chairperson of the Education Committee, Mervyn Storey MLA, said: "STEM is crucial to our economic development. If we are serious about promoting these important areas, all Government departments must co-operate and co-ordinate their work. The Education Committee is therefore very happy to be working with other committees as we all want to see educators in our post-primary and even in our primary schools working more closely with business and industry to inspire our young people to choose and study STEM subjects.

Robin Swann MLA, Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee stated: "The Employment and Learning Committee strongly believes that better careers advice, information and guidance will play a fundamental role in providing a 'pipeline' of talented STEM students and graduates. This event marks another important milestone in improving transitions and the joined-up nature of STEM support across schools and colleges and universities."

Chairperson of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Patsy McGlone MLA, commented: "Our Committee recognises the value to the economy of new and emerging industries which rely heavily on STEM experts and graduates. We would like to see a greater alignment between all levels of education and the current and future needs of the Northern Ireland economy."

Michelle McIlveen MLA, Chairperson of the Culture Arts and Leisure Committee said: "We believe that film and other arts-based subjects can provide a gateway for more and better involvement in STEM subjects by school pupils. I hope that this creative avenue may go some way to addressing historic gender imbalance issues in the STEM sector and increasing the economic contribution of our arts-based industries."

Speaking on behalf of the Northern Ireland Science Park and the many business people attending the event, Chief Executive Norman Apsley, OBE said: "Today few people would doubt the role of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to our economy but the message needs to go wider and deeper and especially into our young folk, their parents and teachers.

"The entire knowledge industry is in growth and we need everyone to be involved in building an agile, skilled workforce to take advantage of the opportunities, for the sake of our young people and for the future of the economy they will inherit."

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

The NISP "Stem is Cool" event involved representatives from over 60 organisations from the business, industry and education sectors. The event included round table discussions with politicians and a display of some of the winning entries from Northern Ireland in the recent BT Young Scientist Exhibition.

Education Committee Membership:
Mervyn Storey MLA (Chairperson)
Danny Kinahan MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Jonathan Craig MLA
Jo-Anne Dobson MLA
Chris Hazzard MLA
Trevor Lunn MLA
Maeve McLaughlin MLA
Stephen Moutray MLA
Robin Newton MLA
Seán Rogers MLA
Pat Sheehan MLA

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