STUDENTS, parents and teachers travelled from all over to attend the inaugural STEM South West student showcase at Rochestown Park Hotel yesterday.
Attendees experienced thrilling visuals and insightful talks from experts in the areas of construction, information technology, medical devices, pharmaceutical, electronics, weather forecasting, agri-technology, environmental engineering, and cybersecurity.
There were also a variety of exciting demonstrations on virtual reality, robotics, and astronomy from some of the leading science and technology companies and organisations in the region.
The focus of the event was to inspire and encourage the next generation to pursue a career within the STEM industries.
Speaking of the success of the event, Michael Flannery of Stem South West commented:
"We could not be happier with how this event turned out.
"From beginning to end the desire from students to learn, to get involved and to seek out how STEM might play a part in their careers and their futures was palpable."
"Young people are passionate about learning, and we felt this strongly on the day with students and exhibitors engaging to question, discuss and understand the vast array of areas and applications that STEM subjects impact," Mr Flannery continued.
Speaking ahead of the event, An Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney stressed the importance of student internet in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
"The future of the Irish economy is reliant on a skilled STEM workforce and that workforce is reliant on the choices our students make today about what they study and where they go in their careers," Mr Coveney said.
"We have a 40,000+ student population in the South West region – we need to speak with these students before these choices are made – to open up the world of possibilities that lay out before them in STEM related industries," he continued.
Some of the most popular events yesterday included Dell Technologies and VMware combining their unique skills to create interactive gaming and virtual reality experiences, which gave students a first-hand insight into how emerging technologies will help to shape their world.
Also a highlight at the STEM event was Innovative Total Solutions which showcased its 'collaborative robots' demonstration - a class of robot that works interactively with humans.
ITS were the first Irish distributor of the universal robot in 2013, and are the only centre for training in the country.
Since their inception they have worked with the biggest tech and pharma companies in the world.
Concluding the STEM event yesterday, Mr Flannery commented:
"The success of this event is a testament to the passion and contribution of all those involved – from the organisers to the exhibitors, to the attendees on the day.
"Every one of these people, organisations and companies are playing a very important part in the economic development of not just the South-West region, but the country overall, and helping to secure Ireland’s attractiveness and competitiveness as an IT and STEM sector hub into the future."