The 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 National 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."
Ian 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 5,000 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 Junior Achievement Ireland at email@example.com.
Students and families looking for more information on natural gas, renewable gas and more interesting science stuff can visit the our website on www.gasnetworks.ie
Junior Achievement Ireland –
Junior Achievement (JA) programmes facilitated by business volunteers encourage young people to remain in education and help them develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world. Working with schools and business partners, JA programmes promote work readiness, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and the value of studying STEM.
Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) utilises the experience of those already in the workforce to help children of all ages to fully understand the important role that education will play in shaping their futures. JA business volunteers are recruited, trained, vetted, equipped and supported to deliver hands-on learning experiences that empower students to make connections between what they learn in school and how it can be applied in the real world.
JAI is part of a worldwide organisation reaching out to over 10 million young people each year. It was established in Ireland in 1996 and since then has built up a strong demand from schools throughout the country and created successful partnerships with over 160 leading organisations.
Jonathan McCrea - is the founder of science communications conference SCI:COM. He is also the creator of "Futureproof", Newstalk’s flagship science programme that has won 7 national radio awards. Jonathan also presents "Ten Things To Know About" on RTÉ.