Comment from Pat Burke, Vice President and General Manager, Cook Medical on the new CSO figures.

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We welcome new figures from the Central Statistics Office that show Ireland has the highest proportion of graduates in the STEM subjects of mathematics, science and technology across the EU.

“Ireland is working towards becoming Europe’s STEM leader by 2026, so it’s imperative that we futureproof the industry and maintain a strong flow of talent.

“Although the uptake of mathematics, science and technology are all showing significant growth in Ireland overall, the same group of students showed the widest gender disparity with almost twice as many male as female graduates in this area. 

“This is also true of engineering. Recent research carried out by Cook Medical with over 500 students at this year’s BT Young Scientist Exhibition, shows that less than half of secondary level students have ever considered a career in engineering, dropping to 32% of female students.  

“The low uptake of engineering amongst females is widely associated with the lack of access to the subject at secondary school level, which limits participation in STEM from a very early stage.

“In order to address this, we must place emphasis on improving access to engineering as a subject choice for all students and help to educate students about the career opportunities that are available to them within the sector.

“Engineering is a major contributor to the Irish economy, employing 23,000 people directly, and this is set to increase as significant industries that rely on engineering graduates, such as the MedTech industry, continue to grow and develop and create jobs here in Ireland. Therefore it is crucial that we place equal emphasis on promoting engineering as subject among our entire student body to ensure we reach our 2026 goals and to ensure we have a strong pipeline of talent to take up these jobs in the future.”

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