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Kinsale pupils help stem skills shortage

November 26th, 2022 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Kinsale Community School students who are part of the Stem initiative, back from left: Ross Langford, Roan Gilli, Ethan Smyth. Front from left: Fin Hayes, Róise O’Donovan, Ronan Hawkins, Sophie Hurley and Aoibheann Ferguson. (Photo: Alison Miles)

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KINSALE Community School students have joined forces with some of Ireland’s leading biopharmaceutical and life science companies in a bid to tackle the country’s Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills shortage. 

Transition year (TY) students from the Kinsale school, along with their counterparts in Carrigaline Community School and Christ King Secondary School, are taking part in the Stem TY Challenge, an initiative which aims to increase interest in – and experience of – Stem amongst young students and in doing so, improve the numbers of young Irish people pursuing careers in the sector.

The initiative is being piloted by Pfizer, Lilly, Janssen, DePuy Synthes, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Hovione. These companies, who are all based in Cork, have given 24 of the TY students the opportunity to complete a mentorship with them. The students, who are working with industry mentors, are currently nearing completion of the programme.

‘The impetus for this initiative is three-fold: to deal with the myths surrounding Stem, to showcase the breath of the opportunity that is in Stem and Stem careers in the region, and to generate a pipeline of talent for companies in Cork region – and beyond,’ said Marguerite O’Sullivan, director of learning and development at Johnson & Johnson and chair of Stem South West. 

‘The results to date are very encouraging – the students involved have learned an incredible amount from the initiative and developed key skills which will stand to them, and their employers, in the future.’

The Cork-based consortium involved in the initiative believe that the region’s future economic performance depends, in part, on the pursuit of Stem careers by students, and it was these concerns that laid the foundations for the Stem TY Challenge.

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