Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has challenged the Alliance DEL Minister “to shift into top gear and drive it through at 1,000 mph his much-needed campaign to promote STEM subjects in the constituency’s primary schools”.
Assemblyman Swann, the UUP Chief Whip, issued his challenge to the Minister as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers brought the famous 1,000 mph car, the Bloodhound, to Stormont in an event sponsored by Mr Swann’s party colleague and constituency neighbour Danny Kinahan MLA from South Antrim.
Mr Swann said: “The Bloodhound can travel at speeds of up to 1,000 mph, and I want DEL Minister Farry to adopt the same speed to ensure the much-needed STEM subjects are promoted in primary schools, especially in my native North Antrim.
“It should be noted that a number of such schools attended this event and agreed that this was a great way – using the Bloodhound car – to promote STEM in primary schools.
“Indeed, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers is to be praised for bringing the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car to Northern Ireland for the first time to emphasise my point,” said Assemblyman Swann.
The full-scale model of the Bloodhound SSC car was on display at Stormont to help raise awareness among schoolchildren, Northern Ireland Assembly Members and the public about the Bloodhound SSC project and its aims to inspire a generation about science and engineering.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is one of the key sponsors of Bloodhound SSC, which aims to break the world land speed record by reaching over 1,000 miles per hour in the South African desert in 2015.
More than 120 local schoolchildren will be at Stormont to see the car up close, as well as staff from Micro Flextronics – a Coleraine-based company building key components for Bloodhound SSC.
Isobel Pollock, Past President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, is originally from Ballymoney.
She said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring Bloodhound SSC to Stormont, and showcase this unique example of UK engineering which has captured the imagination of thousands of young people.
“Engineering and innovation have long put the UK at the heart of the global economy, and Bloodhound SSC is another reminder of the exceptional skill and vision of our engineers.
“However, we have a severe skills shortage in the UK and will soon face a very real crisis if we don’t encourage more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
“That’s why we were looking forward to meeting both NI Assembly Members and local schoolchildren at Stormont, so we can demonstrate how exciting a STEM career can really be – and hopefully discover the next generation of engineers.”