Futurewize Inspiring Next Generation of STEM Professionals

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James Burke Abbott Ireland 1st years Mercy College SligoJames Burke of Abbott Ireland with students from Mercy College Sligo

The Mercy College students were the first students in Sligo to take part in the new, classroom-based programme called Futurewize, 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 (JAI) and delivery by business volunteers Mary McLoughlin and James Burke from Abbott Ireland. The programme was officially launched in October 2016 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.

Colette O’Hagan, Principal, The Mercy College “We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to take part in such a worthwhile programme.  Our Abbott volunteers, Mary & James were true  professionals and had a great rapport with the first year students. The students have learnt so much about STEM from them. To hear our girls’ talking about building rockets, learning about HTML code and forensic science is just fantastic. Congratulation to all involved for creating this programme.

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 serve to highlight the importance and relevance of STEM subjects and their links to a huge range of potential career pathways.  

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