BT Young Scientist

Roscommon Schools encouraged to enter the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

BT Young Scientist

BT and Irish gymnast Kieran Behan is calling on Roscommon Secondary Schools to enter the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2017.

Picture Credit: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Research released by BT Ireland reveals that 81 per cent of secondary school students believe that technology has advanced their education and made information and learning more accessible, while 68 per cent believe that teachers should use more technology in the classroom. The research was conducted with 513 secondary school students and 333 parents of secondary school students throughout Ireland to launch the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2017.

The aim of the research is to gain a deeper insight into what motivates young people in terms of their education and career and to understand their perception of science and technology. If they could broaden the school curriculum, students were asked what aspects of science and technology they would like to learn. 57 per cent said they would choose computer programming, 53 per cent said sports science and 41 per cent named bioengineering as their preferred choice.

BT is calling on all secondary schools throughout Roscommon to enter the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2017. Last year, Roscommon went home with a total of 3 awards, with 30 students from 7 schools in the county having entered a total of 13 projects.

To enter the exhibition, an individual or group must submit a one-page proposal outlining their project idea before the closing date of Wednesday 28 September 2016. Entries can be made in any one of four categories: technology; social and behavioural science; biological and ecological science and chemical, physical and mathematical science.

‘Dream it, Do it’ is the theme of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2017 and this concept came through strongly in the research with results indicating that both parents and students believe it’s important to explore fulfilling careers which are suited to an individual’s interests. 68 per cent of parents said they encourage their children to dream big and explore all avenues when considering career options, with 14 per cent claiming they would try and teach their children to be realistic about the career options. When asked what motivates their future career choices, 58 per cent of students said the chance to explore their passions, while 57 per cent said the potential to make money and 56 per cent said the level of enjoyment they would get from an industry or job.

In terms of their futures, sports science is popular amongst students with 33 per cent stating they would choose a career in the field. Other choices include a career as a medical researcher (47 per cent) and a scientist working on a beauty brand (25 per cent). These responses show students are thinking about science beyond its traditional form and in a broad range of careers.
Mari Cahalane, Head of BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, said, “Nurturing and fostering home grown talent is of the utmost importance both to BT and to Ireland. It’s imperative that we support our youth so that they can advance their ambitions and their skills in any field they choose. The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition is a platform for young people to experiment and explore their interests, and it aims to enable young people to have the courage to follow their dreams.”

Other notable findings included:
· Almost half of students (47 per cent) think technology can be overwhelming. While, 88 per cent believe technology can make learning more interactive and easier. 83 per cent believe social networking is a distraction when it comes to studying/doing homework.

The survey asked students to indicate which industries they feel are leading the way in terms of scientific and technological advances, and both students and parents named healthcare (69 per cent of students and 68 per cent of parents), aviation (49 per cent of students and 60 per cent of students), followed by farming (45 per cent of students and 50 per cent of parents) and cosmetics (45 per cent of parents and 44 per cent of students).
Students and parents were in agreement and believe both golf (48 per cent of students and 56 per cent of parents) and rugby (41 per cent of students and 48 per cent of parents) have embraced science and technology the most above other sports.

· 54 per cent of students say real advice from people working in industries/real jobs would help inform their career and educations choices;

· When considering future career options, 50 per cent of parents advise their children to explore what they enjoy;

· Over 40 per cent of parents and students believe there are an abundance of career opportunities in Ireland;

· Half of secondary school students and just fewer than 30 per cent of parents, believe most people leave Ireland out of choice, while 29 per cent of students and 37 per cent of parents believe it’s because they can’t get work in their chosen industry/field.

Kieran Behan, Irish gymnast and BT ambassador, commented, “It’s a great honour for me to be involved with the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2017. I’m a huge advocate of anything that inspires and encourages young people to pursue their dreams as I was always encouraged to. Science and technology offers so many opportunities across a broad range of careers allowing young people to really aspire to achieve their potential.”

The 53rd BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin from 11th -14th January 2017. There are over 140 teacher and pupil awards to be won, including cash prizes, international trips and the overall title of BT Young Scientist & Technologist(s) of the Year. For more information on the exhibition and for details on how to enter, log onto or follow the exhibition on Twitter @BTYSTE.