June 3rd 2010: ‘Protect and grow jobs for our future’ is the resounding message from Irish students today, according to findings from a career-focused consultation process unveiled at the launch of the 2011 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.
Over recent weeks, students aged 12-18 from across the island of Ireland have been given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns online by BT, the exhibition organiser and sponsor. These young people shared their opinions and concerns on major national topics directly impacting their lives such as education, career choices and emigration.
Questioned on their thoughts about entering the working world, 70 percent of students who participated believed that a compulsory class at second-level education dedicated to business ‘know-how’ would be of major benefit to students in taking the next steps to an office environment and would also help them prepare to better manage their own finances.
Furthermore, 65 percent of those questioned would prefer to settle and work in Ireland after graduation.
With 97 percent of those questioned confirming they have Internet access at school, today’s tech-savvy students enjoy the benefits of major advances in modern technology. Half of students questioned are confident that their teachers are skilled in the use of educational technology, with many teachers using school sites to upload lessons students can access at home, or using Bluetooth to send study tips.
Other notable findings from BT’s consultative process include:
- 85 percent of students questioned said that if their teacher is particularly enthusiastic about a subject, it influences their decision to study that topic
- 60 percent said that bonus points would influence their decision to study subjects
- Over 50 percent feel that having to make subject choices at an early age may limit their career choices in future
- 40 percent expect to choose a career in technology or in the business world
- Reliability and communication skills are traits that students believe their future employers will value most highly
- 65 percent would like to settle in Ireland. Many students would like to work abroad for a few years before returning home. USA, Europe, Japan and Indonesia are some of the places Irish students would choose
- Schools in Northern Ireland are leading the way when it comes to preparing students for the working world, through provision of subjects such as Learning for Life and Work
Graham Sutherland, CEO, BT commented: “Ireland’s most important resource is our young people and as a nation we must look forward by developing and growing our economy to offer them stability through sustainable industry. Education in this context is crucial and particular attention should be paid to the core subjects of engineering, science, technology and mathematics.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is a vital stepping stone as it recognises, engages and nurtures the emerging talent pool in our schools. Consulting directly with these students, BT has been struck by the energy, enthusiasm and, indeed, the resilience that our young people have in preparing for and contributing to, their own future career paths.”
The focus of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2011 is innovation and sustainability – supporting sustainable jobs through the promotion of the core subjects of engineering, science, technology and mathematics. 2010 saw a record number of schools enter the competition, with 329 schools submitting a total of 1,588 projects. BT hopes to continue this growth in 2011 by urging students North and South to get thinking in earnest about their projects now. The closing date for entries is 4th October 2010.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin from January 12th 2011. For more information on the exhibition, log ontowww.btyoungscientist.com or call 1800 924 362 or from Northern Ireland 0800 917 1297.
For further information please contact
Michelle Toner, Fleishman-Hillard, 01 6188420 or 085 725 9809
Gill Madden, Fleishman-Hillard, 01 6188 414 or 086 230 9070
Notes to Editor:
Four students have given permission for their quotes to be used:
Ruairí Kearney, 16, Co. Down: “I want to stay in Ireland as I have my family and friends here and I enjoy the culture, and heritage, the reasonable climate and I feel it’s a modern, vibrant country that can compete globally. Why leave?”
In Northern Ireland: “We are taught a basic understanding of things taken for granted such as knowing your rights and what support/grant schemes are available should you become self-employed.”
Ben Chapman, 17, Kildare: “Unfortunately, very few education systems, if any, actually understand business and what ends up happening is it becomes an exam in jargon and how much waffle you can put down on paper. For example, in LCVP we’re supposed to learn about careers and the workplace. What we have done in LCVP is write about a fictional mini-company, made a CV that sticks to a very narrow set of guidelines from the Department of Education that would be rejected instantly in most places of employment and watched The Apprentice.”
“I think school very deliberately pushes students into areas of study that do not necessarily suit their career choices. I would advocate a system similar to the A levels in Britain where you pick what you want to do after GCSE equivalent exams.”
Jack Mc Cann, 15, Co. Derry: “We have electronic white boards in our school which allow us to watch videos of dangerous chemical reactions that we cannot perform ourselves. In physics, we have many instruments we use for demonstrations and experiments such as a geiger muller tube and counter.”
Regarding a business ‘know-how’ class: “In times of economic decline such as this era we are in, we need people to operate the economy with caution. Also, on a more personal basis in the future we know how to money manage and how to save.”
Laura Mc Carthy, 16, Dublin: “In my school, the teachers make great use of the technological facilities within the school. For subjects such as science and business, demonstrations are shown on the data projector and computers are used by the pupils for subjects such as ECDL and IT Skills. There is also an email service which exists within my school. Teachers can upload useful links, worksheets, study notes etc for the student to make use of at home.”
“There is definitely a need for students to become more aware of money and where it goes. People my age find it particularly difficult to save money and in TY (Transition Year), we are coming closer and closer to the working world and independence from our families, so to know the value of money is very beneficial and much needed.”
“Teachers who enjoy teaching their subject have a huge affect on how a student views that subject. A teacher should interact with their pupils as opposed to reading from a book for 40 minutes. It makes school a friendlier environment to work in.”
“I would definitely choose to work in Ireland in the future. Apart from the fact that both my friends and family reside in Ireland, I’d choose to make a living here because it would definitely benefit the country if its natives lived and worked there. The economy in Ireland has developed greatly within the last decade as a result of Irish citizens staying in Ireland and working for Irish businesses.”