Northern Ireland news

Students challenged to 'shape Northern Ireland's next 100 years', as part of new initiative

Pupils will develop ideas that could contribute to economic growth, create jobs as part of the programme, with the ideas displayed in the Museum of Innovation at Ulster Transport Museum in the year 2121

STUDENTS are being challenged to “shape Northern Ireland’s next 100 years” as part of a new initiative from the Department of Education and Young Enterprise NI.

The project, Innovation 2121, aims to “encourage entrepreneur spirit amongst older post-primary pupils and to develop critical skills for the 21st century such as design, research and being able to think outside the box”.

Pupils will develop ideas that could contribute to economic growth, create jobs as part of the programme, with the ideas displayed in the Museum of Innovation at Ulster Transport Museum in the year 2121.

Schools will be provided with a free ‘innovation pack’ from the Cookstown-based educational resource supplier Learning Space to support students in developing their ideas and there is a link-up with Belfast emissions specialist Catagen to focus on net zero transport of the future.

The Ulster Transport Museum will also feature digital resources on innovations that have supported the Northern Ireland economy in the last century.

The top ideas will be presented in a Dragon’s Den-style competition with prizes on offer to the winning schools.

Education minister Michelle McIlveen said: “The aim of the Innovation 2121 project, funded by my department, is to encourage entrepreneur spirit amongst older post-primary pupils and to develop critical skills for the 21st century such as design, research and being able to think outside the box.

“The project is one part of wider events to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland to encourage reflection on the past, including achievements and innovations, as well as providing additional learning experiences and inspiring future innovation.”

Carol Fitzsimons from Young Enterprise NI said: “Innovation is a critical skill that we must nurture in our young people to build our future economy.

“Working with the Department of Education to provide these resources and support to schools, we will be helping students to develop these important cross-curricular skills.”

William Blair from National Museums NI said: “Innovation has been, and continues to be, an integral part of our history and economy.

“The vast collection at Ulster Transport Museum is testament to this, which is why it is one of the UK and Ireland’s leading transport and industry museums.

“National Museums NI are acutely aware of the importance of educating the younger generation of the global scale that local innovators have had on this industry.

“Projects such as this allows them to hear the stories behind the collections and hopefully inspire them to become innovators and inventors of the future.”

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