The SySTEM programme encourages transition-year students to develop gaming apps.
With so many job opportunities within the tech sector, it’s natural that educational institutes and organisations are gravitating towards teaching tech skills at a younger age.
Computer science is already expected to be fast-tracked onto the Leaving Certificate, and coding may soon become part of the maths curriculum at primary level.
However, developing and refining national curricula can take time and, for students already in the middle of their education, it’s too late for them to experience those changes.
Luckily, there are plenty of other opportunities for students to develop their tech skills.
The Cork Electronics Industry Association (CEIA) is running its second SySTEM programme, a free 12-week initiative for transition-year students and teachers.
The programme teaches students the skills to develop an educational gaming app, which will be live and available to download. Students attend workshops focused on project management, app development technology, design, marketing and sales.
Free training workshops will also be provided for participating teachers, with each team being assigned an industry mentor.
The CEIA represents high-tech companies in the Cork region and works with various organisations, including IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Cork Education and Training Board.
CEIA’s skills and education chair, Valerie Cowman, said that interest from schools has been really strong. “Students, both boys and girls, really enjoy the creativity that app development allows, along with the challenge of coding and fun of using their own app.”
The students also participate in a competition during the programme, the final of which will take place at Cork Institute of Technology on 29 November.
CEIA’s electrical and electronic engineering promotion officer, Dr Eamon Connolly, said the programme is about teamwork as much as it is about developing the app itself.
“The teams of up to eight students have to work together to come up with a game concept but also assign roles such as a project manager, app developer, graphic designer, financial controller, and sales and marketing,” he explained.
“We believe that SySTEM is a great way to showcase IT, STEM and engineering as exciting and interesting career options for the students.”
For more information about the programme, check out the CEIA website.