What does STEM mean?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

In 2008 MATRIX first highlighted the importance of innovation, research and development in Northern Ireland’s STEM industries. A year later in 2009, DETI and DEL published the STEM Review and a draft STEM Strategy. Both of these emphasised a need for more links between industry and education.

When considered together, the reports indicate that we need to ensure that Northern Ireland’s young people have the skills, knowledge and understanding in STEM-related subjects in order to take advantage of job opportunities in these fields and contribute to the country’s economy.

The Northern Ireland Executive’s “Programme for Government” and the Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland, “Success through Skills – Transforming Futures”, also recognise that the future success of the Northern Ireland economy will require increased numbers of skilled workers with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications.

MATRIX is helping to champion the role of science and technology as one of the key drivers of economic growth in Northern Ireland.

Joanne Stuart, MATRIX Panellist and NI STEM Champion

I’m the Northern Ireland Champion for STEM which is about getting more businesses engaging within the education artery and promoting why people should do STEM. We have got loads of innovative companies. It’s not that we can’t do it. We are doing it. We just need to do more of it.

Find out more about these key documents

NI Programme for Government

The Programme for Government identifies the actions the Executive will take to deliver its number one priority – a vibrant economy which can transform our society while dealing with the deprivation and poverty which has affected some of our communities for generations.

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STEM Review & Strategy

DEL has produced a series of publications to develop the “Success through STEM” Strategy, which was published in 2011. The progress on implementing the recommendations of the STEM Review since 2011 was reported in “Success through STEM –One Year On” published in 2012.

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Success through Skills

“Success through Skills”, the skills strategy for Northern Ireland, provides an overarching framework for the development of skills. It looks at the current skills base, examines the skills we will need in future to grow the Northern Ireland economy and highlights areas for action.

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Find out more about becoming a STEM Ambassador

Ambassadors are inspirational role models for young people and come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines: academia, industry and business but all share a passion for STEM.

It is important that we challenge stereotypes about the career paths of people with STEM skills and STEM Ambassadors will help to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding of young people – potential future employees – about how STEM is used in the real world.


STEMNET (the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) creates opportunities to inspire young people in STEM.

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W5 Online

W5 manages a database of over 950 professionals with STEM skills who have volunteered to promote STEM in local schools.

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Sentinus is the home of STEM enrichment and enhancement activities for schools in Northern Ireland, providing a wide range of programmes.

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The STEM supplement

The STEM Business subgroup, in conjunction with the Belfast Telegraph, publishes a regular STEM Courses and Careers supplement to coincide with the time of year when young people will be completing their University and College Admission forms. The purpose of this supplement is to inform parents and young people of the amazing range of opportunities that exist in STEM industries in Northern Ireland.

Further information

School Employer Connections

School Employer Connections is a social enterprise set up by business leaders in 1999 to establish meaningful connections between schools and employers so that employers could play a part in preparing students for the world of work.

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Business in the Community

Business in the Community is a business-led charity which can offer a range of practical ways for businesses to work together and take action to help tackle some of the key issues facing society. They run a number of events that promote STEM subjects

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Are you an employer who wants to take on an apprentice or improve the skills of your employees to help your business work better and help them get recognised qualifications? Apprenticeships could be for you. An incentive payment is available.

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