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Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) a top priority in education

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Education Minister and the Employment and Learning Minister today jointly launched the Report of the STEM Review.

On the same day, the Education Minister unveiled a £1.2m mobile facility – known as the STEM Module/Truck - which will travel across the north to provide state-of-the-art facilities for STEM Specialist Schools.

Speaking at the launch of the Report, which was commissioned in 2007, Sir Reg Empey said: “I welcome the publication of this report and will ensure that my Department acts quickly to take forward the recommendations contained within.

“It is clear that the growing sectors of our economy will require an increasing number of STEM graduates and skilled labour. I am confident that by implementing the recommendations in this report this goal can be realised.”

Speaking at the launch of the Report and STEM Module/Truck, Caitríona Ruane said: "Tugaim iomlán tacaíochta donfhís go gcaithfimid na glúine atá le teacht a chumasú le córas dinimiciúil nuálach eacnamaíochta a fhorbairt trí STEM.Cuirim féinfáilte roimh an tuairisc agus déanfaidh mo Roinn na torthaí a athbhreithniú.

"Cuireann mo Roinn an-bhéim ar ábhair STEM a chur chun cinn agus ar dhaoine óga a spreagadh le dul i mbun gairme sa réimse corraitheach seo. Is é sin an fáth ar chuir muid infheistíocht shuntasachdar luach aon ponc a dó milliún punt sa Mhodúl/Trucail STEM.

“I very much support the vision that we must empower future generations to grow a dynamic and innovative economy through STEM.  I too welcome the report and my Department will review its findings.

“My Department places a great emphasis on promoting STEM subjects and encouraging young people to pursue a career in this exciting area which is why we have invested significantly in the £1.2m STEM Module/Truck.”  

The 58 metre squared STEM Module/Truck is a mobile laboratory and workshop and provides an interactive workspace with interchangeable teaching resources, allowing it to transform from a biology laboratory one day into an engineering workshop the next.  It will be managed as a regional facility by the North Eastern Education and Library Board and then the Education and Skills Authority when it is established in 2010.

The Education Minister continued: “The STEM Module/Truck represents an important investment by my Department to help promote STEM subjects and encourage young people to get involved in STEM at an early age.

“This exciting regional facility is an extremely valuable education resource and will be used by many young people across the north.  We must promote STEM opportunities in all education sectors, increase the number of young people pursuing qualifications in STEM-related areas and make science, technology and maths more interesting and relevant in order to stimulate interest and enthusiasm among young people.”

The STEM Module/Truck was built by Browns Coachworks Ltd in Lisburn.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The STEM Review was commissioned in 2007 against a backdrop of reducing student numbers choosing key STEM subjects.
  2. The full Report of the STEM Review is available on the Department for Employment and Learning and Department of Education websites.
  3. The Review was led by a Steering Group chaired by Dr Hugh Cormican, founder and former Chief Executive of Andor Technologies Ltd.  The Steering Group comprised of representatives from business, government and academia. The Programme Manager for the review was Dr Alan Blair, from the Association of NI Colleges (ANIC).  
  4. All resources required for the construction of the Module/Truck were secured within the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Innovation Fund to support the STEM agenda through the Specialist Schools’ programme.
  5. There are currently nine STEM Specialist Schools funded through the Innovation programme, three schools designated from September 08 and a further six schools from September 09.
  6. Media queries to the Department of Education Press Office on 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.