Gas Networks Ireland: Inspiring careers in science at primary level

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Company Description:

Gas Networks Ireland (formerly Bord Gáis Networks) is part of Ervia (formerly Bord Gáis Éireann).  We own, operate, build and maintain the natural gas network in Ireland, transporting natural gas through our 13,000km network.  We ensure that over 670,000 natural gas customers receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and we connect all customers to the network, regardless of their supplier.

Responsibility is part of our culture at Gas Networks Ireland.  It is a key theme of our business strategy, playing a crucial role in our growth and success.  In 2013, Gas Networks Ireland was awarded the Business Working Responsibly Mark certification for responsible and sustainable business practices.   Our approach to corporate responsibility delivers sustainable provisions and solutions as a responsible employer, community partner, marketplace operator, environmental stakeholder and as both a business leader and corporate citizen.  Our commitment to responsibility ensures that the skills and resources of our business are applied to support growth, progress opportunities, tackle challenges and identify solutions.

For further detail see

Business Issue:
Science and engineering are very much at the core of Gas Networks Ireland business and we have a strong interest in ensuring that students continue to pursue careers in these fields. Gas Networks Ireland supports a number of programmes that encourage and promote an interest in science with students at secondary level. We also recognise that students in primary school, on the cusp of entry to second level education, are key to sustaining an interest in science and engineering. On entry to second level education, many students make a selection of subject choices. Without an understanding of science, many students are not informed enough to select such subjects and thereby completely rule out the opportunity of pursuing further studies in these areas, reducing their options when it comes to career choice. In addition, Gas Networks Ireland recognises the low level of progression of students from designated disadvantaged primary schools through second level to third level education.

Solution Applied:
In partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland, Gas Networks Ireland developed the “Science Forward” programme which introduces 6th class primary students from designated disadvantaged schools to the world of science and to the environment of third level institutes. This educational programme is delivered through hands-on experiments and interactive workshops hosted at a third level institute. The programme runs over two days per location in Cork, Limerick, Galway/Mayo and Dublin and is facilitated by Junior Achievement and trained volunteers from Gas Networks Ireland.

Company Benefits:
By introducing students to third level education there is the possibility of inspiring an interest in a student to focus on education and to pursue it at third level. This effectively ensures a sustainable talent pool for employers like Gas Networks Ireland to rely on. According to John Barry, Managing Director, Gas Networks Ireland, “Gas Networks Ireland is delighted to lead this programme with Junior Achievement in providing participating students with a fundamental understanding of the general everyday application and importance of science as well as the critical role it plays in ensuring a sustainable future. Science and engineering are at the core of our business and it is in this regard that we support many science related educational programmes and as a corporate citizen in promoting the value of education.”

Stakeholder Benefits:
Following participation in the programme, students have a better understanding of science and appreciate the role it plays on a day to day basis. Students also have some appreciation of the value of education and the opportunities it presents. “Thanks so much for inviting us to take part in the “Science Forward” day in UCC. It was a great experience being in UCC. We loved all the science experiments and the tour of the UCC campus was great! It gave us a taste of University life. Some of us hope to go there after Leaving Cert.” – extract from a letter written by the boys of Rang 6, St John’s BNS, Mayfield, Cork.

Provide staff with the opportunity to get involved in a volunteering capacity.

Departments Involved:
Corporate Affairs

Solution Champion:
Caroline O’Connor, CR Manager.