More than 600 students from 10 schools across counties Cavan, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo are taking part in Junior Achievement’s My Future-My Business project funded by the Australian Ireland Fund. This innovative project aims to facilitate students in making informed choices about their future. The project design incorporates opportunities for education and careers planning while developing financial literacy skills and interacting with local business leaders.
The project comprises three phases:
In phase one students enjoyed a three week programme facilitated by a trained Junior Achievement (JA) business volunteer. In the course of the in-classroom programme an individual interpersonal skills assessment resulted in students having the opportunity to consider their strengths and interests and how those might be applied to post-school life while working with the business volunteer thus demonstrating the relevance of their own skills and the importance of the subjects they are studying to school, to work, and to life.
In phase two students visit a local Higher Education Institution where they participate in workshops to explore what courses are on offer while gaining a real insight into what college life may be like should they decide to pursue a programme in further and/ or higher education.
In the final phase of the project, students are hosted in a local business allowing them to see at first-hand what the working world is like and hear directly from local professionals themselves about their own educational background and career path.
Audrey Flood, Teacher, O’Fiaich College, Dundalk, commented, “I found this programme hugely beneficial for our students as it helped them to understand the costs involved in leaving school early. The Junior Achievement volunteers helped reinforce the message delivered by teachers of the benefits of staying in education, which, sometimes hearing this from an outsider can have a greater impact on our students. The range of resources and different activities involved in the workshops really appealed to the students. It makes the students take a good look at themselves e.g. what makes them happy & what success means to them.”
“For our part, we are delighted to have been invited to partner with the Australian Ireland Fund to provide these fantastic learning opportunities for students in the selected schools. We have enjoyed great support from the HEIs and the local business volunteers across Cavan, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo in making these opportunities available to students at a critical juncture in their development. The feedback from the schools and the students has been extremely positive and we are very grateful to all involved for joining us in this collaborative effort.” Helen Raftery, CEO, Junior Achievement Ireland.
Caitriona Fottrell, Director, The Ireland Funds, stated: “Our support for the JA My Future- My Business project is entirely in keeping with the mission of The Ireland Funds in supporting dedicated programmes concerning education, community development, peace & reconciliation and arts & culture. The board of The Australian Ireland Fund strongly endorses the programme of activities scheduled for these 600 students across the school year and is confident that the young people involved will take every advantage of the opportunities available to develop their post-school plans in a safe and supportive environment.”
Pictures above from recent visits to Institutes of Further Level Education. Schools taking part in the Australian Ireland Fund ‘My Future My Business’ Project have had the pleasure of visiting Monaghan Institute, Dundalk I.T., and Sligo I.T.