A woman and a man stand next to each other smiling at the camera in an office setting. They are Sinéad Coughlan and Robyn Duggan.
Sinéad Coughlan, senior manager at Deloitte and Robyn Duggan, student at Maynooth University. Image: Connor McKenna

How this internship could improve STEM education

14 Sep 2023

SiliconRepublic.com visited Deloitte in Dublin to learn about the company’s upskilling initiatives, such as the STINT programme.

Click here to view the full Starting Your STEM Career series.

In January, the European Commission designated 2023 as the European Year of Skills. This  initiative aims to expand and improve professional education and upskilling opportunities, in an attempt to strengthen the region’s competitiveness and attract and retain talent.

Since the EU’s declaration, there has been a major focus on workers’ skills and the educational resources available to them, especially upskilling initiatives. A recent report conducted by Amárach Research, which was commissioned by the Irish Government, found that the majority of Irish people have a desire to learn new skills.

However, the report also found that Ireland is lacking in continuous learning in the workforce, as only one in four people are slightly confident they have the skills to advance in their current jobs, while just one in five are very confident they have the skills for the job they want in the next five years.

To find out about some of the various upskilling and continuous learning opportunities available to Irish workers, SiliconRepublic.com visited Deloitte’s base in Dublin, where we learned about some of the initiatives on offer such as the Dublin City University (DCU) STEM teacher internship (STINT) programme.

Teaching the teachers

For starters, what sort of upskilling programmes does Deloitte offer?

Senior manager Sinéad Coughlan filled us in on some of the initiatives she’s working on at Deloitte to “attract in and diversify” the company’s talent models.

These include a DevOps upskilling programme, a returners programme for people wanting to return to the workforce, and working with Connecting Women in Tech, a network which aims to attract, retain and inspire women in STEM.

Coughlan then told us about the DCU STINT programme, which she describes as a “DCU learning initiative which collaborates with a variety of researchers and industry partners and offers teacher internships to STEM companies”.

According to Robyn Duggan, one of the STINT participants, the programme is “very involved”.

Duggan, a science with education student at Maynooth University, described some of the events he took part in as part of the programme, including a visit to Microsoft, learning skills in coding and robotics, and learning how to bring those skills into the classroom.

“My experience was amazing, I got to meet so many different people and interns.”

Along with organising social events such as the Social Impact Day and Leadership Tuesday, Deloitte assigned Duggan and the other participants into groups for a summer leadership challenge, where they had to present their experiences to the company.

“Through doing this internship, I have a breadth of knowledge of different types of careers in STEM,” said Duggan. “I can transfer that knowledge to students and help them decide what they want to do or even just [let them know] that the options are there for them.”

Coughlan added that through the programme, participants get an insider’s perspective of the diverse roles and opportunities available in tech.

“This programme opens up that relationship so [the interns] can understand what the world of technology looks like and hopefully give that insight and technology breadth to their students,” said Coughlan.

“We’re hoping this will lead to a more gender-balanced workforce in the future.”

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Colin Ryan
By Colin Ryan

Colin Ryan has worked as a copywriter/copyeditor with Silicon Republic since January 2023. Coming from a background in creative media and technology, Colin has previously worked as a researcher and camera operator. He enjoys watching films, listening to music, and befriending every dog he meets.

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