Ashfield Girls' High School
Challenging girls today, creating women of value for the future
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)
Whilst science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have a profound impact on our everyday lives, we continue to see a lack of engagement from students of all ages in these subjects. This is despite STEM subjects being considered one of the accelerating forces for future economic growth across the UK. Issues such as sustainability, managing the planet's resources and using renewable energy appropriately are all challenges that can benefit from the work of mathematicians, scientists and engineers across many disciplines.
'The Internet of Things' now plays a growing role in our daily lives and data is an increasingly valued asset in all industries. Businesses need a workforce qualified in computational thinking and with the ability to analyse and draw conclusions from huge volumes of data. It is therefore crucial that the educational system constructs an environment that promotes these skills. As society is constantly changing, the education sector needs to be able to adapt, to effectively equip students with the skills needed to address challenges that don't yet exist, and to rise to the different learning styles of individuals.
Inspiring young people to pursue STEM subjects beyond compulsory education and into industry is key to addressing the skills gap we're currently facing. Changes in society are driving up demand for graduates of STEM subjects, and unless we meet this demand we are at risk of restricting economic growth. A recent survey stated that 72% of all UK businesses rely on people from a STEM related background. It is predicted by 2022 that there will be a shortfall of STEM qualified employees to fulfil these positions. Consequently, it is important that we find new and interactive ways to engage students in these subjects.
The following information gives you an idea about the largest employers in Northern Ireland. Only one of the top 10 companies produces a manufactured product. With a larger STEM skilled workforce, Northern Ireland could have a more dynamic economy producing new technologies and more scientific research.
Top Northern Ireland Companies 2016
(Source: Belfast Telegraph)