New initiative to build College participation in BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

NEWS RELEASE

New initiative to build College participation in BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

Belfast, Sunday 2nd May 2010:  A new initiative will see Colleges in Northern Ireland working with BT to encourage college students (under 18 years old) to participate in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE).

The initiative was announced during the launch of the College STEM Initiative – CSI™ – to encourage more people to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and to develop an awareness of the exciting and rewarding career opportunities available in these areas.

The College STEM Initiative – CSI, was launched on May 1 in W5 at the Odyssey, and will lead to stronger links between schools, colleges, universities and local businesses and industry.

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is an annual event that encourages students from across the island to devise innovative projects based on the essential skills of science, technology, engineering and maths.  Organised and sponsored by BT, the exhibition is now in its 47th year and is one of the longest running and largest of its kind in the world.  Held in January each year, the exhibition showcases 520 competition entries from participating students.

Welcoming the initiative, Colleges Northern Ireland Chief Executive, John D’Arcy, said:

“The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is a fantastic showcase for the imagination and creativity of our young people. This initiative will encourage college students to participate in Ireland’s leading science and technology competition and fits well with our broader objective of getting young people excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

“The College STEM Initiative – CSI – is about encouraging more people to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and also develop an awareness of the exciting and rewarding career opportunities available.

“CSI is about creating opportunities for children to experience the wonder of investigation; and building two-way pathways between schools, colleges, universities and businesses and industry. It is about opening up a world of opportunity and exploration.

“Our Colleges are committed to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths for the future of Northern Ireland’s economy. This means that we also need to understand why young people opt out of studying STEM subjects – and work to bring them back into contact with Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths. We need to keep alive the passion of our children for investigation.”

Peter Morris, BT Consumer and Corporate Services Director said, “For close to half a century the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition has helped to highlight the importance of STEM skills in schools and it is excellent to see that the entry levels in Northern Ireland continue to rise.  We believe that there is so much more potential to reach students and we’re delighted to announce this partnership with ANIC in order to reach out to students in Further Education colleges.”

“The one common goal we all share whether we’re in education, business or in government is the need to create long term sustainable growth. Science and technology are key enablers for growth and we look forward to playing our part in making sure that Northern Ireland is well placed to compete on the global stage,” he added.

ENDS

Note to Editors

The CSI was be launched on Saturday 1 May at 11 am in W5 at the Odyssey.

Key note speakers included Peter Morris, BT Consumer and Corporate Services Director, who is responsible for managing the BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition; and Joanne Stuart, Chair of the Institute of Directors, a strong advocate of the  STEM Agenda.

There was also be a Westminster Election Hustings Event chaired by journalist Eamon Mallie. All of the main political parties will be represented; Sir Reg Empey (UCU), Anna Lo (Alliance), John O’Dowd (Sinn Féin), Peter Weir (DUP) and Conall McDevitt (SDLP).

There was a lecture for children and young people looking at ‘The Science behind CSI’ at 1.15 pm.

The six Regional Colleges also had a STEM orientated demonstrations where children got a ‘hands on’ feel for STEM activities. Forensic Science staff also exhibited with a CSI theme and there was careers information provided by the Education Library Boards.

The DENI STEM Truck, which is used to encourage STEM in schools across Northern Ireland, was also on site.

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