Dublin, 18 January – From this week, the new SFI Smart Futures national campaign can be seen on billboards, buses and shopping centres across Ireland. Students, parents and teachers of Ireland are invited to visit the newly updated smartfutures.ie site and discover interesting Transition Year opportunities, profiles on people in different STEM careers and their journeys, STEM festivals, companies that can be engaged with, apprenticeships and courses and other resources, and to engage with the campaign on Twitter by following the hashtag #IGetPaidToDoThis.
Smart Futures provides secondary school students, teachers and parents in Ireland with information about STEM careers. The new campaign has been developed by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills. This collaboration between the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, through Science Foundation Ireland, and the Department of Education and Skills is a key element of the National STEM Education Policy. The campaign conveys some of the lesser known aspects of STEM careers, and brings people with different backgrounds working in them to a national platform. This will be achieved through a brand new, user friendly website providing activities, profiles on people working in STEM careers, resources and useful information about STEM in Ireland for students, parents and teachers, and through a suite of eye-catching ads demonstrating the diversity of STEM careers and the paths that can lead to them.
Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD, welcomed the launch of the new campaign, saying: “This campaign demonstrates the Government’s focus on providing our students with the best information and opportunities possible, ensuring rewarding and impactful careers for them. We have been pressing home the need for a deeper engagement on STEM subjects and careers as part of the STEM Education Policy Statement in 2017 and accompanying Implementation Plan.
“The new campaign is part of our continued commitment to raise awareness of opportunities in STEM and to drive interest among students. It is a great example of how Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills can work together to ensure that Ireland is better prepared to enable our people to succeed. We will continue to invest in the students of today through programmes like Smart Futures, to empower them to lead the future of science and technology in Ireland.”
The faces of the new Smart Futures ad campaign are:
- GAA player Jason Doherty who, when not playing for the Mayo Senior Team, works as an engineer with the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI).
- Crionna Tobin, Sports Nutritionist with Glanbia, who believes in the power of STEM to give you the ability to impact the long-term health of your generation.
- Collie Ennis, a researcher in the Department of Zoology at Trinity College Dublin, whose unconventional route to his working with animals began with his childhood obsession with bugs and reptiles.
- Civil Engineer with Arup, Alba Menendez, whose diverse education saw her study at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, her hometown, and Trinity College Dublin.
In addition to these, many more profiles of other people in STEM careers can be found on smartfutures.ie.
Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said: “Supporting students in Ireland is a priority for the Government and it is important that departments work together to ensure this. In an increasingly innovative world, Ireland’s future looks bright because of its superb global advances and reputation in excellent scientific and technological research. We must continue to inspire our young people to pursue careers in which they are honing Ireland’s competitive edge internationally, and in which they find enjoyment, development and reward. I am delighted to launch the new Smart Futures campaign alongside my colleagues in the Department of Education and Skills.”
Speaking about the campaign, Margie McCarthy, Interim Director of Science for Society for Science Foundation Ireland, said: “It can be difficult for second-level students to get a real insight into STEM subjects and the wide-ranging careers they can lead to. We have worked on this campaign with the Department of Education and Skills and lots of inspiring people with varied backgrounds to show that careers in science, technology or engineering are fulfilling and can positively impact on people’s lives, and are also creative, flexible and multidisciplinary. I would encourage students, parents, teachers and any interested members of the public to visit our new website and explore the valuable resources available.”