Inspirational Mentors for Midlands Schools

SWIM Pic haywood april 14thAtlantic Corridor was delighted to kick start a brand new education initiative for the Midlands in recent weeks with the launch of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded project, Science with Inspirational Mentors (SWIM)

This programme is being delivered in partnership with SFI along with the Amber Centre in Trinity College Dublin and focuses on bringing mentors or role models with science or technology backgrounds into Midlands’ secondary schools to deliver career talks and demonstrate in a hand on way why a career in science is a good choice. Volunteers for this initiative are from life sciences organisations and technology companies, as well as from research centres and academia.

Science expertise involves whole-life learning—beyond the confines of any classroom or laboratory. It is so important that when learning science it includes innovation and creativity, up to date resources, engagement and partnerships that empower and enable the students to connect learning to actual real-world situations. These career talks are aimed at Transition Year students, with a view to encouraging them to keep on STEM subjects, but are also available for Senior Cycle students who are still unsure about third level options and preferences.

CEO of Atlantic Corridor, Jackie Gorman said,
‘SWIM aims increase participation in STEM education and careers in the Midlands. A new suite of activities is being delivered in collaboration with Cpl Recruitment and the Amber Centre in Trinity College and will specifically focus on the Life Sciences sector. The project will place a strong emphasis on mentoring from role models and champions for Life Sciences education. With this in mind, we are asking anyone with a science background who feels they have the experience and passion to potentially act as a role model to the next generation of Midlands scientists to please get in touch. Being a role model extends beyond just presenting science in a well-informed way. It’s someone who will encourage and nurture curiosity about science. It’s also someone who wants to make a difference by teaching science and is passionate about how it affects our daily lives.’

To date, presentations have been delivered in a number of Offaly, Laois and Westmeath second level schools with further events planned for the coming months.

Jennifer Navan, Principal Team Lead at leading recruitment specialist Cpl commented,
‘Cpl is delighted to support the SWIM initiative which gives Midlands students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the world of work and the types of future jobs that might be available to them, particularly in the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The more work that can be done by scientific role models in this region, the more likely it is that students will consider one of these fields as a future career option. Many of the global medical technologies and pharmaceutical companies now have a dedicated presence in the Midlands and we would like to generate an increased interest in these fields and work towards inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.’

A key part of SFI’s mission is to contribute to Ireland’s continued growth and development as a society – one that has an active and informed interest and involvement in STEM. Atlantic Corridor is playing an active role to ensure that this happens in the Midlands counties and will continue the delivery of SWIM across Offaly, Laois, Westmeath and Longford for the remainder of this year.

Jackie Gorman continued,
‘Volunteer STEM Ambassadors have a critical role here in inspiring young people in STEM subjects through real life examples but it can be difficult to demonstrate to young people how important these subjects are without seeing how they can be put to use in industry. Follow on events such as plant tours of key Midlands multinational companies, science camps at Trinity College and work placements will be high on the agenda as we continue to roll out this important programme for the rest of 2015.’

For further information please contact Jackie Gorman, Atlantic Corridor: 057 93 239 02