DCU launches 2021 STInt Programme to inspire innovative learning in STEM Education
Dublin City University has today launched the 2021 STInt (STEM Teacher Internship) Programme which will provide pre-service STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) teachers with the opportunity to gain skills and experiences within the STEM Industry.
The programme, which is now in its sixth year was developed together with Accenture and the 30% Club in 2016 with the overall aim of providing future STEM teachers with a personal experience of STEM roles and careers in the industry. This, in turn, will empower them to inspire future generations of their own students, particularly female students, to engage in STEM subjects and careers.
The programme is led by two DCU STEM Education academics, Associate Professor Eilish McLoughlin, Director of CASTeL and an international leader in physics teacher professional learning and Professor Deirdre Butler who specialises in Digital Learning.
To date, the programme has provided 70 DCU STEM teachers with a 12 week experience across 24 of Ireland’s leading companies. This flagship programme is supported by an education-industry collaboration that is strongly committed to supporting innovative and creative approaches to STEM education in Ireland.
The STInt programme has received strategic partnership funding from Science Foundation Ireland Discover (2020-2021) to expand and enable pre-service STEM teachers from other universities to engage in internships in a wide range of industries across Ireland. Although the 2020 programme was impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, 16 paid-internships proceeded on a remote working basis in eight participating companies Accenture, Alexion, Ericsson, Intel, Microsoft, SSE Airtricity, Takeda and Xilinx.
Dr Anne Looney, Dean of DCU Institute of Education said,
“The skills that our future teachers will acquire during their internships are more important than ever. The last few months have seen dramatic changes in schools and schooling; the STint programme takes on a new importance as part of DCU’s work of preparing the teachers of the future. Collaborating online, working in virtual teams, and the ability to design and deliver technological solutions - these are likely to be part of classroom routines for the foreseeable future. I want to thank the leading companies who have generously agreed to support what has to be an internship this year; by hosting our students this summer, you are also reaching their future students. There is no better introduction to the STEM career opportunities than an inspiring teacher who has first hand experience.”
Mr. Paul McCabe, Site Leader at Alexion Pharmaceuticals said,
“The BioPharma industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Ireland and it is anticipated that more than 8,000 jobs will be created in the sector in Ireland over the next five years. The availability of people with the right skills and talent to work in Biopharma will be critical to the continued growth of the sector as future investment comes on stream. We at Alexion have found, as part of our involvement with the STEM Teacher Internship programme, that this fantastic initiative demonstrates real benefit to the future pipeline of talent.
Enabling an internship for trainee teachers allows them to see the breadth of STEM careers available in BioPharma companies like ours, and how they can bring their learnings back to school, build awareness of the sector with their students and ultimately encourage them to aim to work in an industry which is focused on transforming the lives of patients with serious illnesses. Alexion looks forward to participating in the programme again in 2021 and will aim to spread awareness in the Pharma sector through our new BPCI Pharma D&I working Group.”
Mr. Bernie Capraro, Silicon Technology Research Manager at Intel Ireland said,
“As our world becomes more reliant on technology, and larger problems loom that require multiple technology innovations to help solve, there has never been a time more dependent on our younger generation to become familiar and proficient in scientific reasoning, skills and application. Jobs of the present and of the future are becoming more and more grounded in scientific and technological skills, and hence we need to do all that we can to excite, encourage, and educate our children in STEM subjects, from primary level, through secondary and possibly third-level, to ensure the jobs of the future are adequately staffed.
The STEM Teacher Intern Programme has been conceived and developed to help do just this, providing our educators of the future with the capability and knowledge to help our children find an energy and enthusiasm to rise up to the challenges of the future. Intel believes that young people are the key to solving global challenges and that a solid math and science foundation, coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving are crucial for their success. That is why we support the STEM Teacher Internship programme, and look forward to continued interactions over the coming months.”
Ms. Margie McCarthy, Head of Education and Public Engagement. Science Foundation Ireland said,
“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the STEM Teacher Internship Programme again in 2021. Understanding how STEM is applied in the workplace is a key support for teachers trying to impart this knowledge to students. This programme is an excellent example of industry and education working together to help teachers experience first-hand the work of scientists, engineers and technologists. Ultimately this experience helps to demystify STEM roles in the classroom and broaden the understanding of how much they contribute to our society.”
Paula Neary, Managing Director and STEM Sponsor, Accenture in Ireland said,
“Ireland, like every country globally, is going through a process of disruptive technological change. We need a future proofed talent pipeline that is equipped with critical thinking, creative and functional skills and is comfortable with digital technologies. STEM subjects help cultivate many of these skills, but the uptake of these subjects at second and third level remains low. This was highlighted once again in Accenture’s most recent STEM report. The Teacher Internship programme is a great example of how industry can collaborate with the education sector to give teachers first-hand experience of how the skills developed through STEM are utilised across industry and the wide range of possible career opportunities available. This helps them to broaden the mindsets of our future generations and prepare the workforce of the future.”
The STInt Host Organisations are: Abbvie, Accenture, AIB, Alexion, Allergan, Astellas, Bank of Ireland, Citibank, Deloitte, Ericsson, Gas Networks, Ervia – Irish Water, EY, Fidelity International, Fidelity Investments, GE, HPE, IBM, Intel, Mallinckrodt, Microsoft, MSD, PWC, SSE Airtricity, Stryker, Takeda, Virgin Media, Vodafone and Xilinx. In 2021, the initiative will expand to offering Internship positions in new organisations and to candidates from other Irish pre-service STEM teacher education programmes.