Scholarship recipient Sarah Hannan, Caherdavin with Padraig Fitzgerald, BD and Sarah Hartnett, UL Foundation. Below are Katie Dumas, Garryowen and Jack Moore, Patrickswell | PICTURES: Arthur Ellis
TEN UNIVERSITY of Limerick (UL) students have been given scholarships and bursaries by management at Plassey-based medtech firm BD.
Robert Fitzgerald, the company’s site director in Limerick – where over 350 people work – made the presentations.
He said that link-ups between business, industry and education are key to unlocking the potential in the science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) fields across Ireland.
The BD accolades saw four female students studying science and engineering receive the firm’s bursaries for women in Stem.
Six students also received the BD scholarships in science and engineering, based on their outstanding academic achievement.
A key element of the BD awards programme is that recipients of the bursaries and scholarships will also be assigned a professional mentor from the company.
After picking up their awards, the recipients also got an insight into a cutting-edge Stem environment with a tour of BD’s state-of-the-art facility, adjacent to the UL campus.
Speaking at the event, Mr Fitzgerald said: “From government to industry and education, there is consensus that we have a challenge in terms of Stem skills. A European Commission study suggests that 24 out of every 1,000 female graduates have an ICT related subject and only six go on to work in the digital economy. Growing the number of women engaged with technology is hugely important for the sector as it will bring vital new perspectives as well.”
He believes it’s a challenge which can be tackled, but it needs collaboration from industry and educational partners across third level and second level, alongside government support.
“The task is for industry, education and government to continue working on this, not least in the area of ensuring access for all to third level,” BD’s site director concluded.
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