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Futurewize Programme on an Upward Trajectory in 2019

STEM role models inspire next generation of scientists, coders, engineers and tech entrepreneurs

NO FEE FUTUREWIZE 4Project Ambassador Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin with Futurewize student Khadidja Ouidah from Assumption Secondary School Walkinstown

JAI is delighted to announce plans to further scale our successful Futurewize programme up to the end of 2019. Originally launched in 2016, the classroom-based Futurewize programme is aimed at inspiring young Junior Cycle students to explore a new world of career possibilities that are opened up through the study of STEM-related subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). 

An evaluation of the first phase of the Futurewize programme showed that 77 percent of student participants are now interested in studying STEM-related subjects after school, while 99 percent of participating teachers would recommend it to colleagues. On foot of these encouraging results additional funding was secured from the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme. Designed by JAI and developed for delivery in classrooms by business volunteers, this year more than 3,500 students across 150 classes will complete the Futurewize programme facilitated by 150 trained volunteers from STEM-related roles. The programme will continue to involve no fewer than 60 percent female participation levels.

Futurewize 3Students from Loreto College Crumlin after completion of their Futurewize programmeBy the end of 2019, it is estimated that nearly 24,000 students will have completed the Futurewize programme in combination with the Smart Futures module, which is also promoted as a function of the collaboration between SFI and JAI.  Futurewize is aligned with the strands of the Junior Cycle science curriculum, and the physical, biological, and chemical worlds; and Earth and Space complement government policy including the aims of the Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 and the National Skills Strategy 2025.

Having trained role models from industry working with 13-14 year olds in their own classrooms once a week for five weeks, Futurewize aims to show Junior Cycle students the importance and relevance of STEM related subjects. These role models from industry share their own real-life experiences as they work through the Futurewize modules.       

Research on the ‘role model effect’ has indicated the strong influence that a positive role model, particularly for girls, can play in changing perceptions and dispelling gender-stereotypes in STEM careers.

AM8I8540The Royal Irish Academy welcomed a full house for 'The Importance of Role Models in STEM Education' event To coincide with the next stage of the Futurewize programme JAI enjoyed the opportunity to invite supporting organisations from education and industry to participate in an event entitled ‘The Importance of Role Models in STEM Education’.

An expert panel, moderated by Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, considered the impact of role models while students from Assumption Secondary School Walkinstown shared their learnings from the Futurewize programme. LinkedIn's Wendy Murphy provided a keynote address which shared some data on the future of work for which we must help young people prepare.

Speaking after the event, Helen Raftery, CEO at JAI, said: “A volunteer from the ‘real world’ has significant educational impact in helping students to see the relevance of their studies and their post-school choices. Entrepreneurship education programmes such as Futurewize, which are delivered by role models from industry and business complement the work of our teachers by providing opportunities for skills development as well as introducing students to a range of career possibilities.  We are delighted that the Futurewize programme has delivered on its objectives to date and we look forward to scaling further in order to positively impact on even more students over the next 12 months.”

Commenting on its support for the Futurewize programme up to the end of 2019, Margie McCarthy, Interim Director of Innovation and Education at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support Junior Achievement Ireland in running Futurewize, a fantastic initiative funded by the SFI Discover Programme.  Joining forces with Smart Futures, Futurewize demonstrates the diverse STEM career opportunities available to students in Ireland by creating a space in which they can interact with superb role models.  Encouraging these meaningful interactions empowers and inspires young people to start thinking about their future study and career paths, allowing them to learn of real life workplace experiences and to kickstart their journeys towards becoming the innovators of the future.”

Students presenting 1Students from Assumption Secondary School Walkinstown were on hand to speak about their experience of the Futurewize programme

Panel in discussion 1Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin moderated a panel of industry and education experts consisting of Paula Neary, Accenture Ireland; Liz O'Donnell, MSD; Arthur Godsil, Godsil Education and Margie McCarthy, SFI

Wendy speakingWendy Murphy, EMEA Director Global Clients - LinkedIn Talent Solutions, provided a keynote address on the future of work

JA Speaker GroupThank you to our speaker group for their insightful participation

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Enterprise in Action in Local Schools with Citi Volunteers

Citi volunteer Fran Burke tells us about his experience volunteering to teach the Enterprise in Action programme

Photo 2Fran Burke with Citi volunteers Caitriona Penston and Edna Lyatuu Hogan

For a number of years I have been involved in Junior Achievement programmes at the primary and second level. I always found the programmes really enjoyable and rewarding. The ultimate pleasure however was the idea of giving back to my former secondary school by delivering a programme there. I got in touch with the Junior Achievement team and thankfully they were able to accommodate this through their new Enterprise in Action programme which is supported by the Citi Foundation.
The programme itself was delivered over 5 weeks and the materials provided by the Junior Achievement team were well structured - allowing for interesting discussions and engagement with the class. The training in advance of the programme was excellent - networking with others delivering the same programme in different schools helped as it allowed me to discuss elements of my programme with others during the course of the 5 weeks and learn from their experiences as well as sharing my own.
IMG 0316At the launch of the Enterprise in Action programme were Ryan Conroy, student, St. Paul’s CBS; Sinead Henshaw, M.D. Operations Business & Chair of Community Affairs Group, Citi; Paschal Donohoe, T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform; Helen Raftery, CEO, JAI; Abieyuma Obasuyi, student, Loreto College Crumlin and Mary Kelleher, Transition Year Head, Loreto College CrumlinI always recommend Junior Achievement to colleagues here in Citi. In our roles we are constantly required to deliver materials and presentations as well as manage and coordinate meetings. The programmes themselves have a heavy emphasis on delivery but also time management to ensure you can deliver all the content effectively. In addition they help build confidence – you can’t stand in front of a group of transition year students unless you have done your preparation and research in advance! The skills you develop in delivering the course have helped me in other areas in my normal day to day role.
During the Enterprise in Action programme you present what it means to be an entrepreneur, the specific characteristics of an entrepreneur and discuss the benefits and possible challenges in starting a new business. The idea generation session was really great and allowed the students to get creative in identifying possible problems and solutions - I had ideas from motorised poop-scoopers to teleporters to the more practical locker valet services and school kits suppliers. Students go on to explore the identification of the target market and possible techniques to determine this before going into the topical use of social media in promoting a business. The final session then covers an interesting discussion on ethics and ethical dilemmas and prompted some interesting discussions on recognising the right thing to do. The programme encourages creativity and a lot of discussion with the students. 

I especially enjoyed the interaction with the students and being part of the creative process. It was a great experience for me to go back to a school I am very proud to have been part of, very little has changed but it is good to give the benefit of my experiences throughout the programme. I am just waiting on Junior Achievement to confirm whether the terms of the programme include 5% of the profits of any businesses started following successful completion – if I ever see a motorised pooper-scooper I can say I know that guy!

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Energize Brings Science to Life with Gas Networks Ireland

EnergizeScience communicator Jonathan McCrea with Helen Raftery, CEO JAI, Ian O'Flynn, Head of Commercial, Gas Networks Ireland and students from Mother of Divine Grace PS at the launch of Energize

Gas Networks Ireland in partnership with JAI is delighted to launch a science education programme, Energize, to over 5,000 primary school students around Ireland. The programme will introduce science to primary school students through practical and engaging classroom-based lessons and was officially launched by science communicator Jonathan McCrea.

Energize 2Gas Networks Ireland volunteer Niamh Conroy facilitates a module during the Energize launchThe programme is designed to cultivate an interest in science so that students continue with the subject to second level education. Labour market data shows that Ireland continues to experience a skills shortage in the STEM sector despite major growth and employment opportunities. Each year, 200 volunteers from businesses around the country will be recruited, trained and supported by JAI to facilitate the roll-out of the in-classroom programme - which is an integral part of Gas Networks Ireland’s commitment to fostering students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Commenting at the launch of Energize at Mother of Divine Grace Primary School in Finglas, Jonathan McCrea, Science Communicator and presenter on Newstalk and RTÉ, said: “It is absolutely vital that we have adequate numbers of qualified science graduates if we are to continue to grow the STEM sector in Ireland. These are the graduates of 2025 and the Ireland of 2025 and beyond will increasingly depend on scientists, engineers and innovators. With the help of programmes like Energize we will ensure a sustainable supply of qualified personnel in the STEM sector supporting Ireland’s economic growth and development. We will also give these students the widest possible range of options for their futures. Complementing the primary school science curriculum, programmes like Energize will enable our young people to explore STEM and encourage them to choose science subjects for the Leaving Cert and beyond.”

Energize 3Science communicator Jonathan McCrea spoke to students about the fun and practical side of scienceIan O’Flynn, Head of Commercial, Gas Networks Ireland, said: “Gas Networks Ireland is proud to support the Energize Science education programme which we see as a vital investment in all of our futures. Energize will introduce students to energy, physics, chemistry and biology in an unexpected, informative and enjoyable way and will promote energy awareness and demonstrate how forensic science can help solve crime. The programme is designed to nurture a positive attitude towards science and in the longer term we want to cultivate a greater number of science graduates and STEM skilled professionals. Encouraging, educating and supporting children as they move forward in their lives is central to this programme and we are delighted to play a part in helping them reach their full potential.”

It is critical that industry and education come together to excite young people about studying science and the skills required for success,” said Helen Raftery, CEO JAI. She continued “It is through the support of partners like Gas Networks Ireland that we are able to connect our students with business volunteers who in turn share their insights and expertise, linking the classroom and the ‘real-world’ to enhance their learning experience. We look forward to continuing in partnership with Gas Networks Ireland to ensure primary students enjoy the opportunity to learn about STEM in the coming years.”

Energize will be delivered to 6th class primary school students across the country and volunteers from member organisations will begin facilitating the programme in the coming weeks. Energize comprises five modules spanning the fundamentals of science while highlighting its value to young people in their everyday lives. Promoting STEM to primary school students in a fun and interactive way is crucial in promoting a positive attitude to science. If you would like to register your interest in having Energize delivered in your school, please contact JAI at info@jai.ie.

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Business is Core to ‘Our City’

Entrepreneur Rozanna Purcell with students from St. Audoens National SchoolEntrepreneur Rozanna Purcell spoke to students from St. Audoens National School about starting her own business

Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, have extended its partnership with JAI and launched the revamped ‘Our City’ programme.

This community and enterprise-focused initiative is set to reach up to 15,000 students nationwide on completion of the next three-year phase. To celebrate, 25 local primary school students from St. Audoen's National School, Cook Street, Dublin 8 were invited to Core’s city centre office to complete their Our City workshops, in which they practised setting up a business and marketing their products in their city.  To assist the students entrepreneur Rozanna Purcell spoke to students about starting her own business.

Students from St. Audoens National School working on their Business IdeasStudents working on their Business Ideas'Our City' introduces 3rd class students (8-9 years old) to the many elements that comprise the development of an urban area. Students are introduced to their city or town as a place where people work, live, play, go to school. As citizens of 'Our City', the young students also get the chance to build their own city, and in so doing, get to debate the best way to plan and provide for the needs of everyone who lives in the city. Over the course of their five-module programme, students enjoy starting their own business, developing their own advertising campaigns and practising being successful entrepreneurs. More than 14,000 students in 571 schools nationwide have enjoyed the programme in the first three years, which involved working with more than 420 trained business volunteers from JAI-supporting organisations.

Aidan Greene, Deputy CEO of Core said, “Core is delighted to recommit to the ‘Our City’ programme. We are dedicated to supporting youth and education initiatives around the country and our partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland allows us to maximise the impact we can make in communities, while inspiring the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs.”

Helen Raftery, CEO Junior Achievement Ireland, commented, “Thanks to the support of Core we are able to bring the real world into classrooms through the experience and insights of trained business volunteers. Helping students to connect what they do in school with the world around them to ensure they see the relevance of their studies in their everyday lives is a very important aspect of their development and one in which we are delighted that Core has invested its resources and expertise.”    

Commenting on the programme, Adrian Harkin, Acting Principal of St. Audoen's National School said, “The ‘Our City’ programme is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the city around them and the opportunities that lie within. Not only does it bring business into the classroom, it also allows our students to get a feel for a real working environment and aspire to a variety of roles within their city.”

Students from St. Audoens Celebrate the launch of Our City with Core volunteersStudents from St. Audoens Celebrate the launch of Our City with Core volunteers

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Junior Achievement - a Student's Perspective

Jasper from Drimnagh Castle Primary School, Dublin 12 has written a blog post about his experience during a JA programme

JasperAnthony from Deloitte started coming to work with our class this term. We did many science experiments in the Gas Network Ireland Our Universe programme. For the first one we learned about bones and Anthony gave us a gigantic paper human skeleton and cut-outs of names of bones and we had to match the cut-outs.

On the second week we did paper chromatography which was very fun because we pretended we were detectives solving a crime of who stole Mr. Carte-Blanches valuables. The thief left a pen and there were three victims so we put paper in a glass quarter-full and put a sample of every ink on the paper. To us every ink looked black and when we saw results one sample was green the other blue and the last purple. The sample which was purple matched the crime scene sample.*

The third week was about energy, we learned that there are renewable energy and non- renewable sources of energy. Some examples of renewable energy were hydro-power which was powered by water. It worked by making the water move the generator and produce electricity. Solar power is powered by the sunlight’s energy being converted to electricity. The non- renewable energies are coal and oil because it will eventually run out.

For the fourth week we learned about a prescription for a healthy heart so we thought of this list. Don’t smoke, eat healthy, get at least thirty minutes of exercise and don’t eat sweets too often. We also made a poster with a slogan for a healthy heart. Our one was a pirate saying “Stay Heaarrrrrty”.

I think Anthony saved best for last because this was my favourite lesson. It was about light. We were given mirrors and paper and we had to write “Reflection of Light” in a mirror. This was difficult because if you move your hand to the right on the mirror it would move left. If you looked at the writing through the mirror it would look fine but if you don’t it would look like gibberish. We also built a periscope which works by making light reflect onto another so you could see higher this is mainly used by submarines so you don’t have to leave underwater.

The whole class really enjoyed all of the work we did with Anthony. Junior Achievement was loads of fun and it gave us all good ideas for different jobs that people can do when we are older.

* Editor's note: please don't pass on the results of the experiment #SpoilerAlert

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