IOP Tech Fair Allows Students To Explore Physics Career Opportunities

13 October 2017 | Source: IOP Tech Fair Allows Students To Explore Physics Career Opportunities

Students from across Northern Ireland were given the opportunity to explore career possibilities at the Technical Careers Fair held at Belfast Met College in October organised by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Over 300 students, teachers and exhibitors took part in the event which had particular emphasis on apprenticeships, technician training and giving students the chance to learn more about daily life as an apprentice, as well as the long term career progression from apprentice to technician routes.

Opened by Dr Stephen Farry MLA, the event featured speakers from the National Physical Laboratory, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and the Medical Physics Service, who spoke of their own paths from apprentice to senior management. Exhibitors included both international and local businesses such as AECOM, Atkins, Seagate, Thales and Yelo.

A recent report from the IOP showed that industries dependent on physics brings over £3.2 billion into the Northern Ireland economy and employs over 59,000 people. However, any increase in activity in this area requires people possessing critical physics skills. The IOP recently expressed concern that the number of students taking physics at A-level in Northern Ireland has dropped for the fourth year running - down 18% since 2013. The IOP previously highlighted to government the importance of providing clear information at an early stage on science careers.

Speaking at the event Dr Farry noted “Physics lies behind everything that we do, and knowledge of physics creates a world of opportunity. Indeed, more and more of the jobs that will be the engine room of the transformation of the Northern Ireland economy will involve physics. This is an exciting growth area, and we are seeing a wider range of pathways, including apprenticeships, into employment.”

Head of Science, Engineering and Construction at Belfast Met, Chris Corken added: “We were delighted to play host to the IOP’s technical career’s fair. Belfast Met has recently been named a STEM Assured college and we pride ourselves on offering top class training in these key priority skills areas. We aim to send students out into the workplace armed with the best training and knowledge to enable them to carve out successful careers in these areas.”

Dr Stephen Farry, MLA, and Dr Liz Conlon, IOP, with students at the Tech Fair