The work of volunteers with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) was featured at the recent ‘Why Ireland? Celebrating Great Innovation in Ireland’ event in EA Galway, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce.
In celebrating 20 years of industry-education partnerships in the west, guests at the event considered the impact of volunteers working with students in combating educational disadvantage and promoting the relevance of what young people were studying with their post-school futures and the ‘real world’.
Attendees heard the impact of these types of initiatives as Siobhán Collins, who completed JA programmes as a student and subsequently became a JA volunteer at AVAYA, said: “I participated in JA programmes when I was a student and I jumped at the opportunity to become a volunteer when I joined AVAYA. Teaching a JA programme was a great opportunity to get involved, and give back, to my community. JAI plays an invaluable role in encouraging young people to stay in education and teaching them the skills they will need in the future.”
Mark Gantly, Senior R&D Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Western Chair, American Chamber of Commerce, applauded the work of American Chamber of Commerce members, “The level of support JAI receives from members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the West of Ireland is another indication of the wonderful community we have in the West and the willingness to support the next generation through innovative social impact programmes. We are delighted to celebrate Junior Achievement’s 20th anniversary.”
On behalf of JAI, CEO Helen Raftery said “We at JAI truly appreciate the generosity of business leaders in the West of Ireland in enabling more than 52,000 students to participate in JA programmes and events over the past 20 years”.
She added, “Research shows us that helping young people to see the relevance of their academic studies to their everyday lives is a vital factor in persuading them to stay in school and to take maximum advantage of the opportunity that education offers. Now more than ever we need to ensure that students acquire the skills and confidence they will need to thrive in a technology-driven world.”