18th Dec 2012
Farry: STEM subjects vital for economy
STEM subjects will play a crucial role in economic growth and providing job opportunities.
This was the message as Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, presented prizes to young people participating in the Mathematics competition at Queen's University.
Congratulating the students on their achievements, the Minister said: "It is refreshing to be here today to witness so many young people enjoying the challenges set by the mathematicians at Queen's University. They have shown tremendous ability during the various rounds of the competition."
"Maths and other STEM subjects have a fundamental role to play in many sectors of the economy.
"My Department works closely with employers in engineering, manufacturing, financial services and ICT, to name but a few, who repeatedly tell us how central maths is to their business. Sectors such as these are likely to be key to the future growth of the Northern Ireland economy."
"They have the potential to provide quality career opportunities and so it is vital that our young people equip themselves with the right skills now, to be able to take advantage of these opportunities in the future."
Over 100 A-level Mathematics students from schools throughout Northern Ireland took part in the fourth annual competition. Teams representing nearly 30 schools battled their way through several rounds of tough questions set by mathematicians from the School of Mathematics and Physics.
The organiser of the competition, Dr Daniel Dundas from the School of Mathematics and Physics, said "The ability of students taking part in the competition every year always impresses us. In the first few years we were worried that the questions were too difficult but that notion quickly disappeared when some teams started scoring full marks. This is a real credit to the students and their schools but it means it's more of a challenge to set the questions."
In other news, a major new contract will secure jobs at Bombardier Belfast.
The plane making company announced it has secured an order of over $3 billion with US firm Delta Air Lines, Inc.
The American carrier has placed orders for 40 CRJ900 NextGen and options for 30 more.
Speaking on the news Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said:
"Today's announcement signals the continued success of Bombardier which only last week announced its agreement with Vistajet, the largest ever business aircraft order in the company's history."
"Invest Northern Ireland has been working closely with Bombardier and other aerospace companies to support growth and ensure that the sector remains internationally competitive."
"As a major employer in Northern Ireland, this significant order will help to sustain jobs and secure Bombardier's long-term future, in addition to benefiting the local aerospace supply chain."