Student Slingshot Academy aiming to help Irish youngsters choose a discipline
From left to right, Student Slingshot organisers and ambassadors Patrick Guiney, Ellen Metzger, Katie Mannion, Lara Connaughton, Sam Pearson, Andrew Creagh.

Student Slingshot Academy aiming to help Irish youngsters choose a discipline

13 Mar 2015

Set up to educate and inspire students struggling to make a career choice, Student Slingshot Academy is gearing up for its first major event of the year.

Held on March 15 at FilmBase Dublin, the organisers are hoping to target transition year students to better enlighten them on what choices to make with regard furthering their studies and entering the workplace.

Hundreds students have signed up for the project, with each event hosting up to 60 at a time – subsequent Slingshot events are on April 19 and May 3. The events are essentially short classes on a variety of subjects and topics, with mentors across fields including STEM.

“Sunday will be a three-hour programme,” explains Patrick Guiney, organiser Student Slingshot. “For each event we look at subjects which the students attending are interested in. This time it will be computer programming, PR and event management. For computer programming people will get to compile their first ever piece of code, for example.”

Many a decision to make

Tens of thousands of students graduate from the Irish secondary school system every year, with a high percentage moving on to college, so making the right choice can often bring pressures that can impact students’ decision making.

“I haven’t checked the numbers today,” he tells me, just after his own college class ends. “But yesterday we had over 650 people signed up. Of that then we, through working directly with the schools involved, get 60 for the day.” The students pay €15 a head which, along with the support from Student Slingshot’s partners, covers overheads like insurance, food and venue costs.

“The first three events planned are kind of pilot projects in a way,” he says. “Ultimately we’d like to look at the most popular topics, the ones that students are most interested in, and run six-month courses where students attend once ever month to learn something new.

“That all depends on funding, and how we get on.”

Student Slingshot is supported by SpunOut Ireland, The Department of Education, Digital Youth Council Ireland, Irish Secondary School Students’ Union,, Enterprise Ireland and SAP Ireland.

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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