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  • Northside West

Facing into the future

Thursday, 6th September, 2018 3:00pm
Facing into the future

Chloe Wheatley (12) from Mother of Divine Grace has fun during the Energize workshop

Facing into the future

Chloe Wheatley (12) from Mother of Divine Grace has fun during the Energize workshop

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YOUNG students from Mother of Divine Grace in Ballygall were blinded with science when they were recently invited to test activities and experiments for a new science education programme.

Energize is coming to over 5,000 primary school students around Ireland in the coming school year and it’s designed to cultivate an interest in science so that students continue with the subject in their second level education.

Labour market data shows that Ireland continues to experience a skills shortage in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) sector despite major growth and employment opportunities.

Energize will see 200 volunteers from businesses around the country recruited, trained and supported by JAI to facilitate the roll-out of the in-classroom programme.

Energize is being delivered by Gas Networks Ireland, in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) and it’s backed by science communicator and broadcaster, Jonathan McCrea, who joined the Mother of Divine Grace pupils for some educational fun to get the programme started.

“Planning for our future and tackling issues that impact the world we live in increasingly depends on scientists, engineers and innovators,” he said.

“It’s absolutely vital that we encourage curiosity and creativity, as these are the common elements in all science and innovation.

“Programmes like Energize allow people with STEM-related roles to share their enthusiasm with students. I’m delighted to see the youngsters asking questions, conducting experiments, making observations, doing their analysis and discussing their conclusions – all of which are core skills.

“Getting to work with industry volunteers on content that is complementary to the primary curriculum is a great learning opportunity.

|I’m sure those young students completing Energize will enjoy their involvement and will feel encouraged to continue with STEM-related studies into second level and beyond.” 

Ian O’Flynn of Gas Networks Ireland, said the power provider was proud to support the science education programme.

“We see it as a vital investment in all of our futures,” he added.

“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.” 

Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI, believes it’s critical that industry and education come together to excite young people about studying science and the skills required for success.

“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,” she continued.

“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 sixth class primary school students across the country. Volunteers from member organisations will begin facilitating the programme in the coming weeks.

Energize will be promoting STEM to primary school students in a fun, interactive way.

If you would like to register your interest in having Energize delivered in your school, contact Junior Achievement Ireland at

Jonathan McCrea with Kathleen Duffy (12) and Chloe Wheatley (12) at Mother of Divine Grace school.  PHOTOS: SHANE O’NEILL/SON PHOTOGRAPHIC

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