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Minister Bruton shines light on STEM careers with launch of Futurewize

Futurewize LaunchPictured at the launch are Brand Ambassador for Futurewize, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics; Dr Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI; Richard Bruton, T.D., Minister for Education and Skills; Steve Ashmore, Head of Technology Services, Fidelity Investments and Dr Abigail Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy & Communications, Science Foundation IrelandWe are delighted to launch our new, classroom-based programme called Futurewize which 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).

Jointly-sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partner Fidelity Investments, Futurewize is designed by Junior Achievement Ireland and developed for delivery by business volunteers. The official launch of the Futurewize programme was attended by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. who lent his support to the innovative programme.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. said: “I am happy to support Junior Achievement Ireland in their 20th anniversary year, to help launch Futurewize. This programme aligns with the new Junior Cycle science course and its content strands: the physical, biological, and chemical worlds; and Earth and Space and the Government’s renewed policy focus on providing supports in this area. Futurewize will shine a light on the career options open to students in STEM and is a great example of an industry education initiative supporting Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025."

In 2016/17, more than 2,000 students will complete Futurewize with 80 trained business volunteers from Fidelity Investments and other volunteer companies. Working with the 13-15 year olds in their own classrooms once a week for five weeks, Futurewize volunteers will serve to highlight the importance and relevance of STEM subjects and their links to a huge range of potential career pathways. 

FuturewizeBL5Q7062Brand ambassador for Futurewize, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Assistant Professor, UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics and science communicator and Emma Kavanagh, second year student at Blessington Community CollegeBrand ambassador for Futurewize, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics and science communicator and Emma Kavanagh, second year student at Blessington Community CollegeSpeaking at today’s launch as the brand ambassador for Futurewize, Dr Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics and science communicator said:  “I am passionate about inspiring students to be curious about the world around them and to be aware of the opportunities available to them should they decide to continue to study subjects such as science, mathematics, technology and engineering.  An important part of this is that students meet and engage with positive role models from industry who can provide them with insight into what it might be like to work in science, technology, or engineering related jobs and businesses.

Junior Achievement is encouraging this engagement with the Futurewize programme and I am delighted to be an ambassador for this scheme encouraging more interactions between researchers, industry, and education.  The JAI programme is also committed to attempting to address the gender gap in students studying STEM subjects and this is something I am passionate about.”

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HSBC More Than Money Celebrates 8 Years!

HSBCHSBC volunteer Gareth Dunne with students from Central Model S.N.S., Dublin 1

‘More than Money’ is a programme that teaches young people about money basics – earning, spending, sharing and saving. Featuring five interactive volunteer-led sessions, ‘More than Money’ helps students learn the significance of money management and provides take-home materials that allow students to share their new knowledge with family and friends.

Over 250,000 students in more than 40 countries have learned about earning, spending, sharing and saving money thanks to the support of HSBC Holdings plc. To date, almost 4,300 HSBC employees have volunteered to lead JA ‘More than Money’ around the world!

HSBC Holdings plc has given a total of $7.3 million (USD) over five years to teach children about earning, spending, sharing and saving money through this fantastic initiative. For more information on this truly global partnership please read more at http://www.hsbc.com/citizenship/sustainability/youth-education and https://www.jaworldwide.org/partner.

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Celebrating 20 Years of Industry-Education Engagement: Junior Achievement in Ireland 1996-2016

Senior leaders from some of Ireland’s best-known businesses gathered in Dublin last week to celebrate their remarkable record in having supported Junior Achievement Ireland for 20 years.

Building on the foundations laid by our first supporters we have become the largest non-profit organisation in the country recruiting, training and supporting volunteers from business to facilitate in-classroom programmes covering themes such as employability, financial literacy, the value of studying STEM subjects and entrepreneurship skills. Some 800,000 students have participated in JAI programmes and events over the past 20 years.

Business Supporters Founders LunchCurrent patron of JAI, Leslie Buckley, Helen Raftery CEO of JAI, Ann Butler of JAI and the JAI Board of Directors - Alan Markey from Baxter, Michael O'Sullivan from Synopsys, Hugh McCallum from Accenture, Paddy Spicer from Matheson, and Peter Cosgrove from CPL

Since our inception we have enjoyed the stalwart support of 3M; A & L Goodbody; Accenture; AIB; Baxter Healthcare; Campbell Bewley; Dell; Dublin Airport Authority; Deloitte; Fidelity; Lilly; Hewlett Packard; Irish Shell; Johnson & Johnson; PwC and Symantec.

Founding Director, Della Clancy, began the work of recruiting business leaders to volunteer to work with students in Ireland in 1996 based on the entrepreneurship education model run by JA USA since 1919. In our first year 600 students participated in JAI programmes, while last year over 63,000 participated. This level of investment, including the release of over 3,000 volunteers from over 165 supporting companies, is a powerful testament to how industry and education can combine to inspire young people to maximise their potential.

Current patron, Leslie Buckley hosted the event to celebrate those supporting organisations that have worked with us from our early days and to reflect on the impact of this unique education-industry engagement in its first 20 years. In welcoming the gathered business leaders, he said: “The level of demand for JA activities from school leaders and the support it enjoys from leading industry figures is testament to a really great initiative, which shows what can be achieved when industry and education are facilitated in their joint endeavours. Volunteers from businesses who work with students in the classroom is a great way to help make that connection between what they are doing in school and the real world.”

Student AlumniAlumni Ciaran Nolan, Tasneem Filaih and Aaron Ashe with current patron Leslie Buckley and Helen Raftery, CEO of JAIOf the 800,000 students that have participated since 1996, three - Aaron Ashe, Tasneem Filaih and Ciarán Nolan - were invited to attend the lunch and served to remind all of us of how volunteering to work with students can have a profound impact on their lives.

Peter Cosgrove, a partner in cpl and Chairman of JAI, paid tribute to all past Chairmen and the founding director, Della Clancy, for instigating and overseeing the growth of our organisation. A specialist on the future of the world of work, Peter expressed the view that opportunities facilitated by those volunteering with JAI are more relevant than ever. Reflecting on trends in workplace recruitment, he highlighted the importance of understanding how prospective employees must be comfortable with collaboration and always-on connections while employers must offer flexible work and an open, collaborative, free-flowing work environment.

“For employers, there is no doubt that attracting the right people means accommodating those for whom the alignment of the company’s mission and values with their own passions and talents is a deciding factor in their career planning. To enjoy such a rewarding ‘portfolio’ career, skills such as the ability to work in teams, communicate effectively using a variety of media and the skills to analyse and synthesise significant amounts of data are key, thus making JA programmes and activities more relevant than ever.”

CEO of Junior Achievement Ireland, Helen Raftery noted that this year about 165 organisations across 200 sites around the country will release more than 3,000 volunteers to work with students and “this level of support will enable more than 60,000 students to participate in JA activities. There is no doubt that getting the opportunity to work with positive role models from the world of work makes a profound positive impact on young people and we are very appreciative of the continuing support of our longest-standing partners and all our supporting organisations for continuing to inspire and motivate young people all over the country.”

Sincere thanks to our founding members for your continued support, we are looking forward to the next 20 years.

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Core Media Supports Junior Achievement across the Country

Core Media 1Aidan Greene, Deputy CEO of Core Media, & Leah Jordan, Senior Client Manager of Core Media, with 4th class students from St. Vincent's Girls School, Dublin 1

Core Media, Ireland’s largest media communications group, and Junior Achievement Ireland have announced details of the primary education 'Our City' programme. This community and enterprise focused initiative will enable more than 4,500 students in 200 classrooms across the country to learn about the planning, growth and development of towns and business in their area.

'Our City' introduces3rd class students to the many elements that comprise the development of a town or city. 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 will enjoy starting their own businesses and developing their own advertising campaigns.   

Aidan Greene, Deputy CEO of Core Media said,

“Core Media is delighted to announce the ‘Our City’  programme. We are committed to supporting youth and education initiatives around the country. This opportunity with Junior Achievement Ireland is a fantastic way for us to give back to local communities, while inspiring the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs.”

Helen Raftery, CEO Junior Achievement Ireland, commented, “With the support of partners like Core Media we are able to connect students with the world outside their classrooms in a way which is both meaningful and educational. The 3rd class students who take part in the Our City programme will benefit from the insights from the volunteers who will visit their class over five weeks, all the while being supported by the class teacher. 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 Media has invested its resources and expertise.”     

Commenting on the Core Media ‘Our City’ programme, 3rd class teacher Mark Creavin said,

“This programme is an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about business in their own environment – it’s about bringing business into the classroom. However, it also allows our students to get out into a real working environment and witness what that is like. A strong link has grown between St. Vincent’s GNS and Core Media and Aidan Greene has played a key role in that by volunteering at our school in Junior Achievement programmes over the past few years.”

The Core Media supported ‘Our City’ programme is the lead programme in the company’s support of Junior Achievement Ireland.

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Science in Primary Schools a Priority for Gas Networks Ireland

OUMinister for Education & Skills Jan O'Sullivan at the launch of the Our Universe programme in Corpus Christi Primary School, Moyross, Limerick

Gas Networks Ireland, in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), is bringing the Our Universe programme to over 5,000 primary school students around Ireland. The programme introduces science through practical and engaging classroom-based lessons and is designed to encourage primary school students to continue with science as they transition to second level.  Each year, 200 volunteers from organisations around the country will be recruited, trained and supported by JAI to facilitate 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).

Our Universe 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. Labour market data show that Ireland continues to experience a skills shortage in the STEM sector despite major growth and employment opportunities. 

Launching Our Universe at Corpus Christi Primary School, Moyross, Limerick, Minister Jan O’Sullivan 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 businesses like Gas Networks Ireland, 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 Our Universe will enable our young people to explore STEM and encourage them to choose science subjects for the Leaving Cert and beyond.” 

Our Universe is a great programme to educate students in the areas of energy, physics, chemistry and biology.  The lessons focus on areas that appeal to young people such as how the human skeleton works, how forensic science helps solve crime as well our own energy module.   We hope that students and business volunteers alike enjoy the programme and that, in the long term, it will help to cultivate a greater number of STEM graduates and skilled professionals in the future” said Caroline O’Connor, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Gas Networks Ireland.

“We are delighted to have the support of the Minister for Education and Gas Networks Ireland at today’s launch. 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 5,000 primary students enjoy the opportunity to learn about our universe in the coming years."

Our Universe 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.

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