Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today launched two important initiatives for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) educationEducation and Skills in Ireland.

The first is DCU’s ‘A World of Opportunities’; a landmark STEM careers guide for parents, teachers and students.   In partnership the Minister launched the fifth annual I Wish showcases, which takes place across four days in Dublin and Cork next February. To mark with the occasion, I Wish has released its annual survey of more than 2,200 Transition Year students, which shows secondary school girls and their teachers still don’t know enough about STEM subjects and the careers that can follow.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor TD said, “I am delighted to be here this morning to launch these innovative STEM initiatives. The need to increase gender diversity in STEM has been widely recognised and I Wish’s research once again highlights the challenge we face to help female students build confidence in this area at second level. We need to make more young people aware of the vast learning opportunities and potential careers that exist in STEM. Dublin City University’s “World of Opportunities” careers guide addresses this knowledge gap and will hopefully inspire students across the board to consider the exciting options open to them within the STEM field. What is so enlightening about this morning is the joined up thinking between I Wish, DCU, Accenture and the support from Business in the Community Ireland (BITC) in highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing STEM education in Ireland” 

Caroline O’Driscoll, co-founder of I Wish, says: ‘We can now demonstrate definitively that the more a girl is exposed to extracurricular STEM events, the more likely she is to take on related Leaving Cert subjects and college courses. Information and confidence are also key however. We must continuously showcase the opportunities through STEM and build girls confidence in their ability to improve people’s lives through STEM. We need to act now to make a difference.”

Eleven thousand Transition Year girls have already experienced the I Wish showcase. This year, another six thousand will be introduced to the vast number of opportunities STEM has to offer.

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