Galway engineers urged to get post primary students interested in maths to address science deficit

Education and Science Minister Batt O’Keeffe has issued a “call-to-arms” to rally volunteer engineers to visit Galway schools to enthuse students about maths as part of Engineers Week 2010.

Speaking at a photocall with business leaders, Minister O’Keeffe welcomed the Engineers Ireland initiative and called on engineers and businesses to support the day.

“I strongly welcome the efforts of Engineers’ Ireland to promote everyday understanding of maths in schools through Volunteer Day and Engineers Week. These initiatives support the Government’s strategy to move more students into science and technology-based higher education courses. Our curriculum reform plan - Project Maths - will begin in all post-primary schools in September as part of efforts to radically reform the way the subject is taught and make it more relevant and accessible.”

Engineers Week is a campaign held annually by Engineers Ireland to promote engineering as a career and to highlight the importance of the industry to Ireland. Volunteer Day to be held on February 11 will be a key day in Engineers Week 2010 which runs from February 8 to 13. It is planned that volunteer engineers, with the co-operation of local schools, will visit classes in Galway and across the country and spend a few hours working with pre-junior certificate students to improve their knowledge and appreciation of maths through puzzles and work sheets.

John Power, Engineers Ireland director general, says Engineers Week is a critical campaign in the engineering calendar.

We need our students to become more comfortable with maths as it is a fundamental building block towards a career in engineering. Ireland already has a deficit of engineers and the situation is becoming more severe. A ready supply of engineers is critical to the Smart Economy and emerging industries such as the Green sector.”

Speaking as an industry representative Paul Rellis, managing director, Microsoft Ireland, says Ireland’s economic recovery will be powered by innovation.

“To be successful we will need to have innovators in all walks of life and across all disciplines as there are no restrictions or guidelines on who can be innovative. Engineers will have a central role to play in bringing innovative thinking to industry, to business and to research. In the Smart Economy there will be jobs and opportunities that we haven’t even thought of yet. It is critically important that we have sufficient young people in our economy who have been trained with the right skills to enable them to participate fully in, and to help further develop, this Smart Economy. Engineers will be central to this. Industry has the opportunity and a responsibility to play our part in helping young people understand the wide range of roles that a degree in engineering opens up to them. We can do this by supporting Volunteers Day in February 2010.”

To get involved contact (01 ) 6651340 or email [email protected]

Engineers Ireland is one of the largest representative bodies in Ireland with more than 24,000 engineers on its books. The membership incorporates all disciplines of the engineering profession across industry, the public service, semi-state organisations and academic institutions.

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