EPA and Engineers Ireland launch new partnership to support STEM skills development

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Engineers Ireland have launched a new partnership to foster STEM skills development in Ireland.

The strategic partnership between Ireland’s independent public body responsible for the protection and improvement of our environment and the professional membership body for engineers in Ireland will focus on encouraging and inspiring the next generation of STEM talent by collaborating on the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme.

This is the only national full-time STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) outreach programme with a focus on engineering.

Caroline Spillane, Director General, Engineers Ireland, Professor Orla Feely, President, Engineers Ireland, and Laura Burke, Director General, EPA

The EPA through its direct involvement with the programme, also aims to advocate to young audiences about the importance of having a clean, healthy and well-protected environment, supporting a sustainable society and economy.

The STEPS programme aims to encourage and educate future generations of STEM talent by supporting industry and community leaders to engage with primary and secondary school pupils through a number of hands-on workshops and programmes.

Comments engineer Laura Burke, Director General, EPA: “At the EPA, engineers and STEM professionals, including scientists, hydrologists and microbiologists, are at the very heart of everything that we do. In our work, whether in assessing the quality of Ireland’s environment, the pressures being placed on it and the societal responses to current and emerging environmental issues, all rely on the ingenuity and dedication of engineers and their STEM colleagues.

“We are delighted therefore to embark on this new strategic partnership with Engineers Ireland, to further boost the pipeline of STEM talent in Ireland and through Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme, we hope to communicate with young audiences about how science and engineering play a key part in preserving and improving our environment.”

Added Professor Orla Feely, President, Engineers Ireland: “We are delighted to collaborate with the EPA as a key partner in our youth-focused STEPS programme which aims to build the foundations of a lifelong interest or a potential career in STEM.  An organisation like the EPA employs STEM professionals who are problem-solving on a daily basis, so we are very pleased to team with such an important partner to further build awareness of the fantastic prospects that a career in STEM affords.

“Our members are encouraged in their roles to be drivers of a more sustainable future. The challenges we face, including from climate change, will all require and benefit from engineering.  We are pleased therefore, as a matter of course, to highlight the significance of sustainable engineering practices through STEPS, and the importance of the environment as a valuable asset to the people of Ireland.”