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Skillnet Ireland are partnering with DCU, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and Intel to support the expansion of the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme for trainee teachers across seven universities in Ireland. The mission of the STEM Teacher internship programme is to inspire innovative learning by facilitating collaborative STEM partnerships between key stakeholders in schools, universities, and industry.

This initiative, led by Dublin City University (DCU), seeks to promote innovative STEM education and support trainee teachers from a range of STEM specialisms in Dublin City University, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Galway, and University of Limerick.

Skillnet Ireland’s support will facilitate the growth of the STInt programme and help to foster additional STEM partnerships with industry and higher education, resulting in a lasting impact on the future workforce.

Speaking at the announcement of the continuation and expansion of the STInt Programme Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD said: “I’m delighted to announce the further expansion of the STInt programme which provides an invaluable opportunity for trainee teachers to gain practical insights into real life applications of STEM knowledge across a range of diverse sectors. This collaborative approach between higher education, government agencies and industry provide STEM teachers with unique and engaging learning opportunities, and ultimately helps develop a more diverse future STEM talent workforce for our economy. This programme has supported 177 teachers so far and is an important support to Ireland’s future economy and society.”

Established by DCU in 2016, the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme has evolved to an award-winning national programme. A wide range of businesses act as host organisations for the STEM internships across a range of industrial sectors, including technology, pharma, medical devices, utilities, financial and professional services.

Professor Dáire Keogh, President of Dublin City University, said: “The STInt programme, pioneered at, and delivered from DCU, has clearly demonstrated its impact in advancing STEM education and has opened up new horizons for teachers and students alike. The industry experience that STInt offers empowers teachers to develop innovative ways of delivering content and this engages a more diverse cross section of students with the career opportunities available in STEM. I am delighted that this unique programme can now be rolled out on a national basis with the welcome support of our partners.”

Industry engagement with the programme

This national programme is led by STEM education academics Associate Professor Eilish McLoughlin and Professor Deirdre Butler from DCU’s CASTel’s research centre. One of the key strengths of this unique programme is its engagement and partnership with industry. In 2023, over 80 pre-service and early career STEM teachers will work as interns in 47 host companies across a range of contexts including fully remote, onsite and hybrid. Through engagement in these 12-week paid internships, the teachers gain hands-on experiences of a wide range of careers and opportunities available within STEM industries.

Tracey Donnery, Director of Policy & Communications, Skillnet Ireland said: “Skillnet Ireland is very pleased to support the STEM Teacher Internship programme. Our future teachers play a vital role in developing a strong and diverse future STEM talent pipeline for industry and the wider economy. This collaborative partnership between the seven academic institutions, government agencies and enterprise will harness the knowledge and expertise of all involved and provide immersive professional experiences in real-world STEM contexts. Our support will help expand the STInt programme by facilitating further STEM partnerships with industry and higher education and deliver a long-term impact on the future of the workforce.”

Maria Campbell, HR Director, Intel Ireland said: “Intel is delighted to be funding the STEM Teacher Internship Programme in 2023. We have witnessed the growth of this programme since we hosted our first intern in 2017 and are proud to be among the 30+ technology companies that have hosted STInt interns since then. Furthermore, Intel supports the scaling of this innovative STInt programme to national level- this goal is well on its way to being achieved, with 7 teaching institutes across Ireland participating in the programme in 2023.”

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society, SFI said: “SFI is delighted to support the STInt Programme which gives teachers valuable exposure to real life applications of STEM knowledge and the opportunity to see STEM careers in action. By bringing together champions in industry and education to work together in this holistic manner, we are growing the pool of STEM role models for our young people. Teachers can explore the role of STEM in addressing many pressing and varied community, national and international issues and grow their confidence to effectively communicate and debate these topics with their pupils. If our teachers can help shine a light on the contribution of STEM and STEM career opportunities, our communities will be assured of a brighter future.”

To date, STInt has placed 177 STEM teachers in hands-on roles in over 40 of Ireland’s leading companies. As a result of their STInt experience, many teachers will help to inspire future generations of their own students to pursue a career in STEM.

Learn more about the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme.

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