Students learning about technology and innovations during Tech Week
By Maurice Garvey
AN EXCITING range of activities have been taking place at schools during Tech Week (April 19-23).
At St John’s College, De La Salle, in Ballyfermot, students are learning all about new technology and innovations, which will, no doubt, see many thrive at in future careers within the industry.
Second year students from St John’s College Shane Friary and Cameron Lee Venest with their awards for designing new apps
It is a busy week at St John’s, as young boys in the school try their hand at writing code for games such as Minecraft and The Ninja, and creating and designing digital games of their own.
They are also involved in various workshops with industry workers and educators.
All week, Junior students can take part in a competition to learn how to make a basic app for looking after a pet, with features such as buttons and sliders, and prizes on hand for winners in each category.
“The highlight of Tech Week in St John’s is the career talk from FIT (Fast Track into Technology, FIT.IE) about pre tech and tech apprenticeship opportunities to 4th, 5th and 6th Year students,” said Ann Marie Leonard, Principal, St John’s College.
“For the past year, all senior students in St John’s have been participating in the Choose Tech programme which informs and educates them on the career opportunities and pathways to a career in the tech sector.”
Michelle Lambert, School Liaison Officer, Choose Tech Programme, said: “FIT are absolutely delighted with the progress from St John’s College students working on the Choose Tech programme.
“St John’s College has been instrumental in moving this programme forward and we are delighted to be a part of their Tech Week.”
At the school on Tuesday morning, History/English and IT teacher Fiona Bateman was enthused about the possibilities the new programme will provide for pupils.
The two year programme has been recently piloted at schools and will see tech companies recruit and sponsor apprentices, providing on-the-job and off-the-job training and development.
In year one, apprentices can earn €269 per week while they learn and this increases to €320 per week in year 2.
“It is so far ahead of us that we are trying to catch up, but it is a great programme and will really benefit some students,” said Ms Bateman.
Students can partake in modules for the programme while in school, complete ‘badges’ and earn credits which help towards their further education.
“It is also great to have these qualifications on their CV, to say they did that,” said Ms Bateman.
“During lockdown students have been doing a huge amount of online work, but some like to work away on their devices, and in general students are dying for coding.
“There are different levels of abilities. One student who hadn’t any experience beforehand, created a wonderful game after just three classes.”
Almost 1,000 multinational companies have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base and currently 80,000 top tech professionals work in tech throughout Ireland.
A further 8,000 IT jobs in Ireland are forecast to open each year.
Over the past decade many past pupils from St John’s have pursued careers in the tech industry and have been very successful.
With this new apprenticeship programme in place, school facilitators at St John’s look forward to the day when past-pupils will return to tell their younger peers the benefits of a working life in the fast moving tech industry.
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