BT Ireland has been the organiser and custodian of the Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for 20 years. Our aim with the Exhibition is to foster an engagement in the critical subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths amongst young people at school-going age. The Exhibition aligns with our company CSR ambitions to support the country’s digital skills agenda – we need to encourage an interest and passion for these subjects in order to future proof our workforce and economy in today’s ever growing digital society. Quite simply, we need everyone to have the skills necessary to work, live and play in tomorrow’s world. Science and technology has never been more critical and we want young people to express their creativity though the Exhibition in a fun, exciting environment.
Since 1965, the BTYSTE has showcased 90,000 projects created by over 200,000 students across the island of Ireland and has contributed significantly to Ireland’s growing community of skilled professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. For us at BT Ireland, 2020 marked our 20th as the organiser and lead sponsor of the Exhibition so it is an extra special event for us this January.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is entirely organised by BT and can only happen with the support of the 200+ BT ‘Red Coat’ volunteers who give their time for a full week every January to deliver the Exhibition. All of our volunteers are fully Garda vetted and trained in crowd control, health and safety and other necessary measures to deliver an event of this scale. Through the Exhibition we support our partner organisations by offering them exhibition stand space free of charge at the Exhibition which gives them access to an audience of in excess of 50,000 people over the three public days of the Exhibition. BT has committed to supporting the Exhibition until at least 2023, reinforcing our long-term commitment to developing future skills.
We do not organise this event alone – we work with a number of key partners to put on this Exhibition every year including the Department of Education & Skills, the Department of Education NI, RTE, and corporate partners such as Analog Devices, Cisco and Perrigo.
BT Ireland is proud to be the organiser and custodian of Ireland’s national young scientist & technology exhibition, one of the longest running events of its kind in Europe. Since taking over as organiser of the Exhibition we have grown the event from around 500 entries to 2,000 entries across the island of Ireland. We introduced the Primary Science Fair in 2000 to engage our younger students in the critical STEM subjects. In 2009 we launched the BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp, a week-long entrepreneurial skills workshop for BTYSTE participants to help them turn their project ideas into real, tangible business propositions. And overall, through building out the Exhibition to become a festival of science and technology all under one roof at the RDS, we have almost tripled the number of visitors that attend each year. We’ve also addressed social inequalities by putting a focus on encouraging more young girls to enter the Exhibition through partnerships like the Teen Turn programme. In 2019, 60% of all entries were female, while male entries were at 40%. We also provide financial bursaries to schools to support schools participation particularly DEIS (disadvantaged schools).
BT provided €187,994 in cash donations; €918,000 was contributed through in-kind donations and €79,539 was raised through employee fundraising. Employees also volunteered 14,981 hours to local groups and projects during the year.