Employees in some of Galway’s top companies recently welcomed fifth year students from local schools into their premises to give them a chance to see what it is really like to work there, as part of the Schools Business Partnership (SBP ) which facilitates partnerships between schools and local businesses.
SBP is an initiative of Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI ).and its “Skills @ Work” programme helps deter students from dropping out of school by providing a first-hand insight into the world of work. Over five sessions employees have the opportunity to share their working life experience with students, and advise them on the best way to start their own career. Schools eligible to participate in the scheme are those in the School Completion Programme which are disadvantaged and have a higher than average student drop-out rate.
The companies participating in the programme in Galway are IBM, Aviva, Thermo King, Mazars and Marks & Spencer who have each been linked to individual secondary schools which are Presentation Secondary School, Galway Community College, Archbishop McHale College, Tuam, Clifden Community School and Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara in Carna.
During their recent visit students from Presentation Secondary School met software developers in IBM and learned that many of the everyday objects we take for granted such as barcodes, laptops and online banking either originated in or are supported by IBM. Meanwhile students from Archbishop McHale College, Tuam donned safety shoes, high visibility vests, headphones and safety glasses to get up close to production in one of Galway's most successful manufacturing facilities when they visited Thermo King's plant in Mervue.
Aviva has linked to Galway Community College since 2008 and this year’s visit included a “Day In The Life” talk with several employees telling their story of what working life is like. Breda Judge, Aviva’s Volunteer Coordinator said “The volunteers help students to identify the connection between education and their future opportunities. At Aviva we love to support initiatives that encourage young adults as we believe everyone has the right to fulfil their potential and that education is insurance for a better life. The active engagement of our employees in this programme benefits both the students and the volunteers and helps build pride and a great team spirit.”
In the coming weeks students from Clifden Community School will visit Mazars offices in Salthill to understand what iti s really like to be an accountant today.“Mazars is delighted to be partnering again with Clifden Community School to support the students in their final years. Our employees are always eager to volunteer for the programme as they see it as a tangible way to give back something to the local community and local school. We are also encouraging employees to get involved as it is a means they can improve certain work skills such as communication, team building and leadership” said Eugene McMahon, Partner, Mazars
The Skills @ Work programme between Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara in Carna and Marks & Spencer has previously included employees talking to students about the real-life skills required in the workplace, as well as CV writing and interview preparation, culminating in a visit to the Galway store and a look behind the scenes at the logistics and planning involved in a multinational retail brand.
Funded under the National Development Plan, The Schools’ Business Partnership (SBP ) has already matched over 190 post primary schools in Ireland with a local business. Opportunities exist for Galway companies to participate in the programme and those interested can contact Nuala Greenan, Galway Coordinator of the Schools Business Partnership on 086 0288965 or email [email protected]