Mid West

STEM Role Models from Industry Inspire Next Generation of Limerick Scientists

Colaiste Mhichil Mark AshworthStudents from Coláiste Mhichíl with their Futurewize Certificates of Achievement

Students from Ardscoil Mhuire and Coláiste Mhichil recently completed the STEM based Futurewize programme supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). More than 250 students in the Limerick Region will participate in Futurewize the 2018/19 school year.

Declan Crotty, Teacher in Colaiste Mhichil, said: “The students were very engaged with the different sessions every week. The students enjoyed working with volunteer Mark and participated well with all of the activities. It was a very enjoyable experience.”

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 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.

By the end of 2019, it is estimated that nearly 24,000 students nationwide 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.

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 kick-start their journeys towards becoming the innovators of the future.”

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Limerick Students Win Nationwide Safety Competition

Seamus Mark Matthew and Julie with both banner standsWinning students Mark Doolan and Matthew Collins with Julie O’Donoghue, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Gas Networks Ireland and 6th Class Teacher Seamus Barry

Students from Ballybrown National School, Carrig East, Co. Limerick have won a nationwide competition to raise awareness of Carbon Monoxide and the dangers that it can pose in our homes.

6th class students Mark Doolan and Matthew Collins had taken part in the JAI Energize programme which is run in partnership with Gas Networks Ireland (GNI).

The competition featured hundreds of entries from all over Ireland however Mark and Matthew’s poster, featuring creative imagery and a poem about the dangers of carbon monoxide, was deemed first among equals. Thanks to the efforts of Mark and Matthew, their class received a prize presented by Gas Networks Ireland. Further carbon monoxide poster competitions will take place in next two school terms. The students were guided by their Energize programme volunteer Andy Cunningham from Dell and teacher Seamus Barry.

Class Teacher Seamus Barry said: “The Energize programme was a wonderful way to introduce the practical side of science to students. The carbon monoxide poster competition really grabbed my class’s attention and the fact that Mark and Matthew’s entry won is the cherry on the cake.  Thanks to Andy from Dell for his work with the students – he was a great role model for the working world - and Gas Networks Ireland for supporting such an important initiative.”

Carbon monoxide awareness is an important element of the recently launched Gas Networks Ireland supported Energize programme. Energize will introduce science to over 5,000 primary school students all over Ireland with the help of 200 volunteers from local businesses who will be trained, facilitated and supported by JAI. The overall aim of the programme is to cultivate an interest in science so that students continue with the subject to second level education.

Ian O’Flynn, Head of Commercial and Corporate Affairs at Gas Networks Ireland commented: “At Gas Networks Ireland, we’re big supporters of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as they are at the centre of our business. Our long-term objective in supporting STEM education is to develop students’ interest in STEM subjects, with the ultimate aim of inspiring the workforce of the future to pursue STEM careers. This is the first year of our new primary school STEM programme, Energize, which contains an important module about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the warning signs of poisoning."

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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AXA Promote Entrepreneurship Skills in Clare

AXA group photo students with volunteersA team of six volunteers from AXA Partners - Credit and Lifestyle Protection in Shannon recently facilitated a JA ‘Your Business – Presenting for Success’ workshop with 1st Year students from Ardscoil Mhuire, Secondary School in Limerick

The workshop enabled students, through interactive activities, to understand the expectations and challenges of designing new products and presenting these ideas to their peers, teachers and the AXA team.

With guidance from the AXA volunteers students focused on developing their creative ideas, interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills. Participating students were also treated to a tour of the facility including the games area!

AXA STW with one of the teams at workJennifer Heelan from AXA Partners – Credit and Lifestyle Protection said:  “It was a pleasure working with students from Ardscoil Mhuire.  The workshop was designed to challenge and inspire students as they work towards their Junior Certificate exams, it was a very enjoyable day. The girls were great to work with and had some very interesting ideas".

Jean Dore, teacher at Ardscoil Mhuire, Limerick said: “I felt the students were very interactive and responded very well to their volunteer and the challenge that was presented to them. The assignment on the day is very similar to what they will have to do with CBA (Classroom Based Assignment) next year in business. The main benefits of this workshop and day came in the form of helping to open the students up to the differences and challenges of a new environment. This was extremely useful and a good eye opener to the real world of adult living in terms of jobs, skills, communication and things to keep in mind for student’s futures."

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Students in the Mid West Project Manage their Future

Students Teachers DellEMC volunteers who attended the recent Project Management Innovation CampTransition year students from 3 local secondary schools in the Mid West region were represented as part of only 30 students nominated to take part in a PM Skills for Life Innovation Camp which was held in Dell EMC on Thursday 17th May.

The Innovation Camp celebrated young project managers from the Mid West region who have excelled during the completion of the PM Skills for Life programme, a collaborative initiative between the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) and JAI.

During the Innovation Camp students enjoyed a masterclass with Project Managers in Dell EMC, who spoke about the importance of project management in the modern workforce.   Students completed an advanced project management workshop, which took place in the ‘Thinkubator’ and shared their key learnings as project managers.

IMG 3511The PM Skills for Life programme enabled students to understand, plan, carry out, monitor and evaluate a project of their own with the support of a project management professional. 580 transition year students from 18 schools across Ireland took part this year.

Participating students also completed PMIEF’s student badging programme, in which they sat an examination to assess their project management knowledge acquisition and retention. On successful completion 48 students in the Mid West region were awarded the Fundamentals of Project Management digital badge, which verifies their project management proficiency.

WP 20180517 10 53 32 ProAs part of their programme students from Castletroy College organised a very successful fundraiser to raise money for the homeless, students from Ardscoil Mhuire in Corbally organised a Junk Couture fashion show for 1st year students to celebrate International Women’s Day while students from St. Caimin’s Community School organised a very successful fundraising Bingo night. All events were organised from conception to completion by the students as they put into practice the project management skills they learned through the PM Skills for Life programme.

Geraldine McGrath TY Coordinator Castletroy College said: “The students now have an excellent understanding of project management and developed key communication, teamwork and presentation skills. I would like to thank volunteers Eoghan Toomey, Aisling Brennan, and Orla Mullane from Dell EMC for taking the time to work with our students. I would also like to thank Dell EMC for hosting the Innovation Camp which really underlined the importance and relevance of project management in their company.”

Jeannette L. Barr, PMIEF Executive Director, said: “In the 21st century, the demand for skilled project managers is at an all-time high as organisations continue to focus on higher productivity and greater customer satisfaction with minimum resources. The PMI Educational Foundation is delighted to have joined with Junior Achievement Ireland to educate students on the importance of project management as a skill set they will need for college, career, and lifelong success.”

Helen Raftery, CEO of Junior Achievement Ireland, said: “We are grateful to PMIEF for the resources to run this initiative, and appreciate all of the time and expertise of our expert project management volunteers to promote student learning. Project management is both a practical 21st century life skill as well as critical business skill. Through experiential learning and a hands-on introduction to project management these students are better prepared for future success and have developed skills that will be beneficial to them irrespective of the career path they choose.”

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GE Capital Aviation Services promote STEM to Students!

GE Capital

35 students from Laurel Hill Colaiste in Limerick recently celebrated Science Week with GE Capital Aviation Services in Shannon.

Volunteers from GECAS Women’s Network assisted the students in becoming Civil Engineers for the day! The GECAS team included Denise Mangan-Fahy, Siobhan Connolly, Brid Keating, Eleanor O’Connell, Deirdre Norris, Reiltin Power, Marcella Mc Elligott, Alison Barry, and Johanna Sandbichler.

The students were tasked with using their burgeoning engineering skills to build bridges with paper that were wide enough to pass a large item underneath..... and could hold 2 litre bottles of water!

For two decades, the Women's Network has provided professional development opportunities for the many thousands of women across the globe working at GE.

One student commented on their experience: ‘I really enjoyed our day, it was very interesting to hear about the different careers in GECAS. It was great to work in a team with our mentor on the day, I enjoyed the challenge…..after the visit I reconsidered my options about a career in aviation and engineering”.

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