Junior Achievement Ireland is set to partner with test development and delivery firm Prometric to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects in secondary schools around Dundalk.
Via the partnership, Prometric has given a €5,000 contribution to Junior Achievement, while it is also going to send employee volunteers to visit secondary schools in the Dundalk area to reach out to students and to mentor them about subjects such as science and maths.
Back in March, the CAO gave some telling insights into how students are starting to put such STEM subjects at the top of their agendas when applying for college places.
The CAO said there was a 64pc surge in the number of students expressing a first preference for STEM courses between 2008 and 2012.
The number of students expressing a first preference for science courses, including computing, at honours degree level, also increased by 18pc this year, the CAO indicated at the time.
As for Junior Achievement Ireland, it is part of a worldwide organisation that reaches out to 9.3m young people each year. In Ireland, it has grown from reaching 500 students in 1995 to 70,000 today. It has partnerships with more than 150 organisations here.
Della Clancy, executive director of Junior Achievement, said Prometric would fit well into its network of organisations that mentor students.
One of the aims of the partnership will be to encourage students to finish their secondary school education and not to drop out.
“It is amazing to see how students, many from disadvantaged circumstances, become inspired and take charge of their futures when our corporate volunteers engage them in this capacity,” said Clancy.
Holly Dance, Prometric’s vice-president of Test Development Operations, said the company’s contribution to Junior Achievement will aim to inspire students in the greater Dundalk region to finish secondary school and to aspire to lifelong education and develop highly skilled careers.
She said that since Prometric set up its Dundalk operation in November it had tapped into a lot of local talent, including graduates from Dundalk Institute of Technology.