Larne students in land of Giants

Larne High School pupils Rhys Cuthburt, Pedro Santos and Scott Linton alongside Liz Simpson (Lecturer at CAFRE) and Colin Shields (Belfast Giants ice hockey player and STEM Ambassador) at the STEM careers event at W5. INLT 49-633-CON

Larne High School pupils Rhys Cuthburt, Pedro Santos and Scott Linton alongside Liz Simpson (Lecturer at CAFRE) and Colin Shields (Belfast Giants ice hockey player and STEM Ambassador) at the STEM careers event at W5. INLT 49-633-CON

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Larne High School pupils recently attended the fifth Festival of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) event in Belfast.

Titled ‘Decision Makers! Vocational Routes into STEM’, the event gave students the opportunity to attend a series of practical demonstrations and lectures, and visit information stands to collate information and discuss STEM qualifications and careers with local employers.

The main focus of the event was on students interested in exploring vocational routes into careers in STEM.

The initiative formed part of a month-long Festival of STEM which built up to a ‘Friendship Four Festival of Hockey’ last weekend. The programme included events for the public, schools and colleges hosted at W5 and supported by the Department for Employment and Learning.

The sporting and educational events were hosted by the Odyssey Trust, owners of the SSE Arena, home of the Belfast Giants, and featured four top Boston collegiate universities from the prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competing in the hockey festival.

The programme was intended to reinforces Belfast’s sister city link with Boston.

In parallel, to celebrate the educational attainment of the colleges and as the promotion of education is a key part of this initiative, W5 worked with a wide range of partners to engage with educational audiences from primary through to post-primary, the FE sector and students in third level education.

Emphasis was placed on linking the programme of sport with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) study and careers which have been identified as an economic driver for Northern Ireland going forward.

DEL Minister Stephen Farry said:“This is an exciting new initiative between Northern Ireland and our friends from the United States. Although the focus of the tournament is, of course, ice hockey, one of its objectives is to promote STEM particularly in relation to the science of sport. Reaching out to young people is of paramount importance, so in addition to the competitive matches, the universities’ players and coaching staff integrated with schools and universities, to participate in a number of events to demonstrate the importance of STEM, teamwork and sportsmanship.”

and determination, in achieving success in both education and athletics. I was pleased to be able to provide £40,000 to enable the tournament to be brought to Belfast.”

Judith Harvey, General Manager of W5 concludes ‘W5 is in a unique position – we have a fantastic building and facilities that engage and inspire young people of all ages with STEM in all its guises; but more importantly we work with a wide range of passionate partners from business, industry and academia who help us to make great events like this happen. And because of our unique position, we are able to link initiatives like this back to core strategies for Northern Ireland, such as areas of study, careers and even future investment opportunities through the invaluable support of all our partners.’