Ireland’s national festival of technology aimed at students, parents and the public, takes place all over Ireland this week and is sure to be a fun-filled week. Tech Week provides hands-on opportunities to learn about how computing and related technology are shaping every area of life. The aim is to stimulate thinking around future opportunities for study and careers in technology, through learning in the wider areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Organised by the ICS Foundation, the social enterprise arm of the Irish Computer Society, and supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), this exciting week of events will see over 120,000 students take part in a range of fun activities, including the finals of several national Tech Week events.
Among the week’s keynote events will be the national Scratch Coding final in Limerick and the national Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge in Maynooth. Schools all over Ireland have competed strongly to make it to the national finals. In addition to these fantastic keynote events, academic institutions and businesses will host events nationwide, and hundreds of schools across every county in Ireland will take part in fun tech related activities.
Tech Week has a serious ambition. The tech sector in Ireland current employs over 105,000 people including 12,000 in the thriving indigenous tech sector. However, by 2020 there will be approximately 73,000 technology-related jobs to fill in Ireland alone and 800,000 in the EU.
Minister for Education & Skills, Richard Burton TD welcomed the start of Tech Week 2018 “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, including the STEM Education Policy Statement, the Digital Strategy for Schools and the ICT Skills Action Plan, all aimed at ensuring we are in a position to meet the skills needs of the new digital economy. We want young students and their parents to understand and 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 Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director Science Foundation Ireland said: “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 [science, technology, engineering and maths] agenda through fun, interesting, challenging activities during the week-long festival.”
Mike Beary Director of Human Resources of AWS Ireland said “Tech Week provides a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the growing demand for cloud skills by many of Ireland’s most innovative organizations, from startups to enterprises and government institutions. As a company we are dedicated to bringing more people of all ages and technical abilities into technology and are proud to be sponsoring Tech Week this year.”
Tech Week is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the the SFI Discover programme. You can learn all about Tech Week 2017 see www.techweek.ie, facebook.com/techweekirl and following @TechWeekIRL on Twitter.