Special STEM session in Flemish Parliament on Tuesday

Summary

The government of Flanders hosted a special STEM event in parliament on Tuesday, where leaders in the technology sector met with politicians and students to discuss the shortage in science and tech professionals in the region

Politicians met with astronaut, lecturers and Digital Girl

Flanders has set itself the task of becoming one of Europe’s top five innovative regions by 2020. But it can only do that if it has smart young people working in the key areas of science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM sectors.

STEM subjects are vital for the economic future of the region, but there aren’t enough graduates specialised in these areas to fill the jobs available. The region has been working for some time to call attention to STEM studies and the careers to which they lead.

Its latest event is happening today in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels, where ministers, students and other experts are gathering to discuss the challenges the region faces in terms of energy, the environment, mobility, food and ageing. Speakers on the agenda include minister-president Kris Peeters, technology entrepreneur and author Peter Hinssen, astronaut Frank De Winne and 10-year-old Lune Van Ewijk, Flanders’ Digital Girl of 2013.

There will also be workshops where industry professionals can meet students already involved in STEM studies. The programme is an opportunity for the government to illustrate the enormous job opportunities for young people with STEM qualifications. The most recent figures show that Flanders currently has 11,000 vacancies in the information technology sector, 25,000 building jobs and 2,000 posts to be filled in the chemical industry every year.

Peeters has just returned from a trip to Berlin, where he spoke with German transport experts on the future of electric cars. He explored the idea of Flemish-German co-operation in developing electric vehicles. He also wants Flanders to develop expertise in new industries, like sustainable crops, nanotechnology and 3D printing. “We create added value with our hands and our brains,” he tweeted.

Photo courtesy of ingimage

Flemish government hosts special STEM session in parliament, where leaders in the technology sector will meet with politicians and students to discuss the shortage in science and tech professionals in the region.

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