Junior Minister Alastair Ross today joined AS level students, their families and friends to see the work of young people who took part in Sentinus summer research placement schemes across Northern Ireland.
Working closely with the Nuffield Foundation, Sentinus has provided high quality professional placements in research environments to AS level students during the summer period over the last 20 years, giving the young people real experience of research and development and problem solving, with the aim to inspire them to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and pursue a career in the sector.
The Junior Minister had the opportunity to speak with many of the students about their experience and view some of the results of their work.
Speaking at the event in the Whitla Hall Junior Minister Ross said: “STEM subjects are vitally important to young people. The skills they gain have a positive impact on their future lives. They help them solve problems, think creatively, aid communication and develop analytical skills. These are the attributes that many employers are seeking and are highly regarded. Indeed, it is vital for our future that we have young people with these skills to help build our economy.
“In the ‘Step Change report on education in Northern Ireland’, the CBI said that business leaders have a role to play in motivating and inspiring our young people and encouraged more businesses to take an active role in their local schools. The employers and academics involved in the Sentinus placements scheme have embraced this call to action. They are to be congratulated for recognising the importance of helping develop our young people as well as the teachers who have promoted this scheme and generated a real enthusiasm for STEM subjects.
“By taking part in the summer placement scheme the young people here today have shown that they have the qualities needed to thrive in the modern workplace. I wish them all well in their education and am confident that the new skills gained on the programme will leave them better equipped to reach their full potential.”
Bill Connor, Chief Executive of Sentinus said: “The Research Placement programmes run by Sentinus offer students the highest quality experience within a science, engineering or IT environment. They become immersed for four or six weeks in research within a scientific discipline of their choosing, carrying out work on live projects based in our local universities, public sector organisations or private sector companies. The experience gained is recognised by many UK universities and employers as a very valuable addition to a young person’s personal profile. It also opens up new career possibilities for students, which they may not previously have considered, and gives them an understanding of the work of the professional scientist or engineer, allowing them to make informed decisions.”
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