Malcolm O’Kelly Leads All-Ireland Volunteers To Boost Engineering

Malcolm O’Kelly Leads All-Ireland Volunteers To Boost Engineering

17 February 2011 at 00:00
Irish and Leinster rugby player Malcolm O’Kelly has led volunteer engineers into schools today to enthuse students about maths as part of Engineers Week’s second national Volunteer Day.  Volunteer Day, organised by Engineers Ireland, featured hundreds of engineers around Ireland in schools working with students to improve understanding of the subject.
 
Research by Engineers Ireland to mark the day found that 82% of students surveyed think that studying higher level maths would help their career, despite the fact that just 16% of students sat the higher level maths paper in the 2010 Leaving Certificate, indicating still greater supports were required to help students engage with maths. 
 
Malcolm O’Kelly once again emphasised the value of an engineering qualification and the necessity of a solid grasp of maths. “This is the second year that I’ve been involved in Engineers Week and Engineers Ireland’s drive to improve maths understanding but it’s still obvious to me that students need help to engage with it.  An engineering qualification has provided me with career options now that my rugby playing days are into their twilight!  But maths is fundamental to engineering so I’m glad to have had the opportunity to go back into school to help students get to grips with the everyday relevance of the subject.”
 
O’Kelly holds an engineering under-graduate degree and a masters degree in mathematics from Trinity College Dublin.
 
John Power, Director General of Engineers Ireland, thanked the huge contribution the volunteer engineers made to the day and once again emphasised that the Irish education system needed to focus on key subjects such as maths that facilitate expanding career options for students. “Ireland needs to re-think its education syllabus to ensure students can make choices that maximise their prospects of finding work that suits them.  This should be the over-riding consideration above all else.  Maths is the key subject in this regard and it needs to be given the time it deserves in the classroom. I welcome the fact that bonus points for maths have been re-introduced but clearly the results of our survey show that more needs to be done.”
 
“Last year we saw nearly 2,500 technology jobs announced, most of which were high end engineering positions in the growth sectors of biomedical, energy and software engineering.  If Ireland wants to attract more FDI and produce jobs of this calibre then our graduates need to have a high proficiency in maths.”
Engineers Week runs from February 14 to February 20 (see details below).  Nearly 150 events will take place nationwide over the course of the week.  To find out more information about events taking place near you or to register your attendance log onto www.engineersweek.ie.