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Students embrace the future as Minister praises Tech Week

Ireland’s national festival of technology aimed at students, parents and the public took place last week.

Organised by the ICS Foundation, the social enterprise arm of the Irish Computer Society, and supported by Science Foundation Ireland, ECDL Ireland and Amazon Web Services, Tech Week 2018 saw over 120,000 students take part in a range of fun activities including the finals of several national events.

Among the week’s keynote events were the national Scratch coding final in Limerick and the National Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge in Maynooth.

Schools all over Ireland competed strongly to make it to the national finals. In addition to these fantastic events, academic institutions and businesses hosted events nationwide. Hundreds of schools across every county took part in the fun tech-related activities.

The tech sector currently employs over 100,000 people however by 2020 there will be an estimated 73,000 technology-related jobs to fill in Ireland alone and 800,000 in the EU.

Minister for Education & Skills and Fellow of the Irish Computer Society, Richard Bruton said, “Tech Week is about experience. It’s about giving young students a chance to experience technology and interact with it in a fun and positive way. 

“We want to ensure that Ireland is well placed to take advantage of the digital revolution which is taking place and having a transformative effect on our economy, workplace and lifestyle.

“We have a range of policies and strategies in place, including the STEM Education Policy Statement, the Digital Strategy for Schools and the ICT Skills Action Plan, all aimed at ensuring we are able to meet the skills needs of the new economy. We want young students and their parents to be aware of the opportunities a career in technology can provide.”

Jim Friars, CEO of the Irish Computer Society said, “The success of the IT sector in Ireland depends on the availability of talent and skills. To ensure we have the talent to meet our ambitions in the sector, we must encourage young students to become active participants in the digital age.

“They must learn to create, innovate and drive the change that will shape the future of the technological landscape. Tech Week provides us with an opportunity to spark an interest in technology and help to prepare our young students with 21st century skills.”

Dr Ciaran Seoighe, Deputy Director, Science Foundation Ireland stated, “Technology is impacting on everyone and everything. It’s changing the way we work, live and relate to each other. Tech Week is a fantastic initiative which allows young people to see and understand the importance of technology and the wider STEM agenda through fun, interesting, challenging activities during the week-long festival.”

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