10 years growing together: a Partnership Giving STEM Insights to Students

Community - Jun 30, 2021

Business in the Community Ireland

In 2011, Fujitsu Ireland and St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush, came together as part of Business in the Community Ireland’s (BITCI) Schools’ Business Partnership Programme.

Germaine Noonan, Head of Education in BITCI, recalls the foundations of the relationship; “I remember like it was yesterday meeting former CEO Regina Moran back in the summer of 2011 to discuss the potential for Fujitsu to support educational inclusion in Ireland and it was very exciting news when the business took the decision to get involved. From the very beginning the commitment level of both partners was of the highest order. “

Over the last 10 years, 275 students have directly benefitted from this partnership through the Skills at Work and World of Work programmes. The Skills at Work programme focuses on preparing Senior Cycle students for the working world and providing them with an insight into STEM career opportunities. A number of initiatives form a part of the programme including a Site Visit, CV and Interview skills workshops, Mock Interviews and, traditionally, Work Experience.  This year, the initiative extended to include a Junior Cycle programme called World of Work where 2nd year students were given the opportunity to develop soft skills relevant to Junior Cycle assessments, including communication and presentation skills, with professionals from Fujitsu.

Participants of both programmes are afforded the opportunity to meet with the CEO of Fujitsu Ireland, Tony O’Malley, and to attend “day in the life” sessions with company colleagues from a variety of functions to give them a broad insight into careers in Technology. This partnership has created the opportunity to provide insights and essential workplace skills, delivering long term benefits to the students of St. Joseph’s school. In 2019, the programme was recognised by Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Education, who highlighted it in a case study to inform the Irish Government’s STEM Education Policy.

Commenting on the impact of the partnership, Patricia Hayden, recently retired Principal at St. Joseph’s Secondary School remarked “The Fujitsu-St. Joseph’s relationship is built on trust, commitment and understanding, and although the main focus of the partnership is on helping students to gain real life experiences of the world of work, there is also opportunity for staff and senior management engagement. That kind of expertise would not normally be available to a school like ours – it’s made a huge difference to the whole school community and to the success of the school.” Daragh Nealon, newly appointed Principal of St Joseph’s is looking forward to the continued success of the programme and has a first-hand understanding of the transformative impact of the programme having previously coordinated the programme in the school.

Commenting on Fujitsu’s involvement with the programme, CEO Tony O’Malley notes the importance of the partnership to Fujitsu and how the long-standing relationship has been of mutual benefit. “Fujitsu has benefitted greatly from our participation in such a community-focussed endeavour. The Schools Business Partnership provides employees with an outlet to participate in a rewarding, enriching, mutually-beneficial programme, which in turn boosts employee morale and fulfils a sense of purpose – our people really feel like they’re giving something back. Everything this partnership has achieved is a testament to the staff at St. Joseph’s and to our employees, who share in our commitment to create a safer, more positive and more prosperous society.”

Closing statement – Germaine Noonan, Head of Education in BITCI:

The leadership support has been a real success factor because it has been led from the top in Fujitsu by Regina Moran and Tony O’Malley and on the school side by Patricia Hayden and Daragh Nealon.

This ensured that all employees and students understood the value that Fujitsu and St. Joseph’s both placed on the partnership and its incredible value. It is a partnership that has brought great pride, huge enjoyment and most of all deep impact to all who have been involved. Congratulations on a decade of success!

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