Career Academies 2013-2015: A Celebration of Achievement

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Career AcademiesGuest dignitaries celebrating with Career Academies graduates from St. Paul’s CBS Secondary School, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7 

Citi, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 was the venue for a very special event on 11th November as 29 students from three Dublin schools were joined by the business volunteers who had worked as their mentors, and their special guests Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin & Jim Gavin, Dublin GAA Manager, to mark the completion of their 18 month Career Academies programme.

Cathal ODalyCathal O’Daly of Citi welcoming the guestsIn welcoming the Minister, Jim Gavin and each guest, Cathal O’Daly on behalf of Citi, outlined the organisation’s ongoing commitment to its corporate and social responsibility programming. “At Citi we are particularly committed to promoting the value of education and I’m delighted to be joined by so many like-minded leaders here today. When it comes to our involvement in Junior Achievement, we have seen the benefits at first-hand for our staff as well as the students as they enjoy working through all of the well-designed activities together. The learning outcomes are clear for both the student and the volunteer. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

Formally opening the event, Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, T.D. congratulated the students, teachers and mentors and all of the supporting organisations involved in the Junior Achievement Career Academies programme 2013-2015.  The Minister told the gathering: “As a former teacher and school principal, I MinisterMinister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin congratulates the graduateshave seen at first-hand how responsive young people can be when given an opportunity to shine. I am delighted therefore, to be here today to recognise each of the 29 students who, when given the chance to participate in this fantastic initiative, took maximum advantage.”

In concluding his remarks the Minister wished each student every success in the future and paid special tribute to the volunteer mentors who had shown such commitment and dedication to completing the programme with their students over the course of the two school years.  

The overall aims of the JA Career Academies initiative are to help students to recognise their potential, to develop and increase their employability skills, support their academic work and introduce them to the world of work.  The programme runs over two school years and the 2013-2015 cohort comprises thirty students from St. Paul’s CBS, North Brunswick St, Loreto College Crumlin and Cabinteely Community School.

Chloe & Lola from Loreto Crumlin describing their Career Academies experienceReflecting on their experiences, a number of students addressed the audience to thank the mentors and the many supporting organisations involved, which had enabled all of the students selected to enjoy participating in what one student described as a ‘life-changing’ programme.

On behalf of the teachers and participating schools, Mary Kelleher from Loreto Crumlin thanked all of the supporting organisations and the mentors and had a special word of praise for Junior Achievement Ireland: “Our responsibility to our students is to ensure they gain access to as many educational opportunities as possible so that they can develop their own skills and interests as the basis for a fulfilling career. Working with JAI we know the business volunteer will be well-trained and well-briefed. From my perspective I see the girls grow up as they progress through second level and those lucky enough to be involved in the Career Academies programme gain hugely from the experience.”

Cecilia Ronan, Chief Administrative Officer, Citi congratulated every graduate and presented each with a certificate of completion, and commended every one of the mentors for their willingness to get involved.

Jim Gavin Keynote Speaker Jim Gavin covered many themes including the power of role models.

His keynote address illustrated why Jim Gavin, Dublin GAA Football Manager is regarded as one of the best managers of his generation – his inspirational words and messages of encouragement to the students and their families left everyone in attendance feeling hugely positive. Every graduate was told by the guest of honour: “you have shown your commitment to your own success by completing the Career Academies programme.  I really hope you can lodge the confidence gained in your memory banks and know that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to – be resilient, be determined, work with the positive influences around you and you will succeed.” His parting entreaty to all the guests was a fitting way to formally close the CA 2013-15 programme: “Be the best you can be.”

Many thanks again to all involved especially the following JAI-supporting organisations, without whose support CA 2013-15 could not have run: 3M, A & L Goodbody, Accenture, AIB, Astra Zeneca, AXA, Barclays, BNY Mellon, Careworks, Cartrawler, Certus, Citi, Cpl, Dell, JLL, LeasePlan, Leo Pharma, LinkedIn, Lisney, Microsoft, Pioneer Investments, Salesforce, Sherry Fitzgerald, StateStreet, Sunday Business Post and TV3.