More than just the science bit – why STEM will shape the future
The excitement surrounding science disciplines is electric, writes Education Editor Katherine Donnelly
Welcome! There is a great buzz around science, technology, engineering and maths. Look at the recent Dublin Web Summit – the city twinkled with a galaxy of big hitters and thousands of smart ideas – many of them home-grown. It wore the mantle of tech capital of the world with ease.
And, in an example of Irish creative thinking at its best, there was great craic too, with pub crawls in Dublin and kite-surfing in the west of Ireland thrown in for the techies.
Multinational companies long ago identified that magic blend of Irish talent and flair, and the stream of big names using Ireland as a base continues to multiply, offering tens of thousands of jobs.
A growing can-do attitude at home has also seen the phenomenal growth in start-up companies, from enterprising students to highly-skilled graduates with cutting-edge ideas taking the world by storm.
Science, technology, engineering and maths are at the core of a huge, and growing variety of jobs and professions and are key to most of the new employment being created as Ireland emerges from recession.
The skills involved are also increasingly in demand in areas not traditionally associated with these disciplines, as noted elsewhere on these pages by Tony Donohoe of the employers' organisation, Ibec.
Students heading for the arts or social sciences will also need a scientific and technological literacy.
Indeed, much of the excitement is about the crossover between disciplines. Scientific discoveries and wonderful new technologies are creating powerful synergies between the arts and science/technology.
It is impossible to capture the endless possibilities offered by STEM study, but this supplement gives a flavour of the fascinating and diverse opportunities to which it can lead. Students entering third-level now are benefiting from a level of investment in science and technology education never before seen in Ireland, with new, state-of-the-art facilities, populated by some cutting-edge researchers
We include updated CAO tables for STEM courses in 2014, which is not to ignore the wealth of options for school-leavers through further education, notably post-leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, to point you in the right direction.