We believe that education enables people from all backgrounds to progress equally, to make informed decisions and to contribute to a better society and a sustainable future. The programmes we support highlight the importance of education and encourage students to stay in school to realise their potential and have great career options as well as developing essential life skills along the way. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are at the core of our business. We support a number of STEM related educational programmes ensuring that we have pioneers of the future.
Supporting the national literacy agenda we also support Irelands's first business to education reading initiative. Time to Read provides 2nd class (7/8/9 year old) children with the opportunity to receive reading support from a business volunteer over a 20 week programme. The programme aims to increase the enjoyment of, and confidence in reading whilst encouraging self-discovery for the participating children. For more information see the details on each of our educational programmes.
We are delighted to deliver Our Universe in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland. Our Universe is a class room style science education programme that is delivered to over 5,000 6th class primary school students nationwide on an annual basis. The Programme is based on the ‘learning by doing’ methodology and is delivered by over 300 business volunteers from organisations around the country. Working with 6th class primary school students before they transition to secondary education is important in fostering an interest in STEM. Our aim in delivering Our Universe is to influence students' decision to continue with science in secondary school with the long term objective of cultivating greater numbers of science graduates.
As part of our commitment to fostering interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), Our Universe highlights the value of science in our daily lives to young people. Promoting STEM to primary school students is crucial in dispelling the myth that science is difficult and in reinforcing its role in sustaining our future. Career statistics show that in Ireland we continue to experience a skills shortage in the STEM sector which has major growth and employment opportunities. Programmes like Our Universe introduce science in an informative yet appealing way and play an important role in having a positive influence on students’ perception of science.
The lessons featuring in Our Universe cover energy, physics, chemistry and biology. They range from the structure and function of the skeleton, to how forensics assist with solving crimes to taking a closer look at energy. 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.
We are actively involved with the Skills at Work Programme, an initiative run by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) that encourages businesses to link with a local designated secondary school. We are currently partnered with two schools close to our main operational bases: Nagle Community College in Mahon, Cork and Beneavin College, Finglas, Dublin.
Skills at Work provides students with an insight into employment roles within a company and promotes the importance of education by encouraging them to remain in school. The programme includes a site visit to our offices as well as career talks by our employees. It also features workshops on CV writing and interview techniques, as well as project support for the student's from subject matter specialists at Gas Networks Ireland. The Programme is beneficial for both students and employees alike as it provides staff with a positive experience and the opportunity to give something back to our local community but, most importantly, it helps students recognise the value of education and learning as they consider and make plans for their future.
As well as supporting students, we also works with the Principals and teaching staff at both schools as part of Business in the Community's programme on Managing Excellence with Teachers. As part of this programme Gas Networks Ireland has developed and delivered a course on personal effectiveness for the staff at Nagle Community College as well as a bespoke lesson on marketing, PR and communications for the staff at Beneavin College.
We have been working with Junior Achievement Ireland since 2010. Junior Achievement Ireland encourages young people to remain in education and helps them develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world. Junior Achievement is part of a worldwide organisation reaching out to 10 million young people each year. It was established in Ireland in 1995 and since then has built up a strong demand from schools throughout the country and created successful partnerships with over 160 leading organisations.
Through our work with Junior Achievement on their primary and secondary school programmes we aim to create a culture of enterprise within the education system. With the input of our business volunteers on Junior Acheivement Programmes we help young people prepare for the world of work, giving them skills in communications and preparing for interviews. Financial literacy programmes enable students to explore how to manage, protect and make the most of future salaries. As we move towards a knowledge-based economy, we also help Junior Achievement bring science and maths skills to thousands of young students nationwide with the help of our business volunteers.
Supporting the National Literacy Agenda, we also work with Business in the Community to deliver the Time to Read programme. Time to Read is Ireland’s first business to education reading initiative. It provides 2nd class (7/8/9 year old) children with the opportunity to receive reading support from a business volunteer over a 20 week programme. The programme aims to increase the enjoyment of, and confidence in reading whilst encouraging self-discovery for the participating children. Gas Networks Ireland works with Scoil Mhuire Fatima and Scoil Aiseiri Chríost on the programme in Cork and in Dublin with Mother of Divine Grace National School, Finglas.
We have been a long-standing member and supporter of Engineers Ireland and we are committed to supporting its educational initiatives through STEPS. Engineers Irelands’ STEPS programme was established in 2000 to encourage primary and post-primary students to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics while also promoting engineering as a career choice. The value of the programme has been formally recognised by Government and is a key element of the National ‘Discover Science & Engineering’ (DSE) programme.
STEPS works in strategic partnership with DSE to achieve its goals. STEPS is managed by Engineers Ireland and is supported by the Department of Education; Science, Forfás and a number of major engineering employers. We also support Engineers Week, a week long programme of nationwide events with the aim of celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland. The aim of the week is to create a positive awareness and spark enthusiasm about the engineering profession to people of various ages with little or no engineering background. On an annual basis, we organise different events in our offices. During the visits students meet with staff of various STEM related backgrounds to gain an understanding of their role and the path that brought them to their career today.