Volunteers

/Volunteers
Volunteers2019-11-14T16:19:02+00:00

Are you interested in inspiring the next generation? Do you have a background in STEM? 

Smart Futures needs industry volunteers to give young people a real life feel for what it is like to work in a STEM organisation. We offer training to ensure that all volunteers feel fully equipped to give talks and advice to secondary school students.

Guidelines for developing STEM School – Business/Industry Partnerships is a new resource to support schools and businesses and enterprise to kick-start engagement and develop long-lasting and sustainable partnerships. The guidelines were developed by the Department of Education and Skills in conjunction with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Science Foundation Ireland the IDA, Ibec, American Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Ireland.

They include:

  • Benefits for learning for children should be central to the partnership.
  • There should be clear, tangible links to the curriculum.
  • Industry must adhere to any relevant codes of practice in the school, including child protection, health and safety and GDPR.
  • A teacher must be present at all times during interaction between children and business.
  • The focus should be on transfer of skills and expertise with activities which are interactive, inclusive and appropriate for the audience.
  • STEM projects should tap into what young people want – eg climate action; helping people with disabilities.
  • The whole school community should buy-in to the partnership with the engagement highlighted online, among parents and the local community.
  • One teacher should be the point of contact.
  • Industry should be proactive in contacting schools and appoint an education liaison team or person and also provide financial support, like seed funding.
  • Industry should also work to engage with parents as well as children and consider using mentors.
  • Business should also be willing to connect using technology if travel distances are long.
  • Businesses should ensure there is a balance of women and men engaged in the partnership and also employees from diverse nationalities and backgrounds.

The guidelines and accompanying online toolkit provide the basis for both primary and post-primary schools and business/industry to form quality, inclusive and relevant educational links, which are aimed at improving the STEM/Digital learning experience and secure enhanced outcomes for all learners.

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If you sign up to become a volunteer, you will be able to represent Smart Futures at events such as Higher Options, SciFest, career evenings and subject choice nights in local secondary schools. It’s a great way to encourage students to pursue a career in STEM and also act as a role model for them.

Career talks are aimed at secondary school students – primarily Junior Cycle and Transition Year to encourage them to keep on STEM subjects- but they can also be delivered to senior cycle students. You role will be to inspire the listeners and show them the world of opportunities available to them if they work in STEM.

It’s easy- simply get in touch through our contact page and let us know you’re interested.

We run volunteer training days once we have a group of people interested. You will learn more about Smart Futures, tips on how to present to a class, and best practice guidelines for your visits. This all only takes a couple of hours!

When you have agreed a school visit, use these tips to prepare:

  • Ensure you contact the school to confirm visit time and any necessary equipment
  • Inform the school of any changes to the agreed visit in good time and update us at smartfutures@sfi.ie
  • Outline to the teacher what you plan to talk about and if you plan to carry out an experiment.
  • Prepare and personalise your PowerPoint presentation
  • Update yourself on information relating to PLC routes, apprenticeships and the National Qualifications Framework
  • See an overview of the newest STEM-related apprenticeships here (includes: MedTech, software development and manufacturing engineering)

Volunteers with science and technology backgrounds will find lots of resources on this page while volunteers with engineering backgrounds can also access volunteer resources with an engineering focus on STEPS.ie.

There are! We have a page dedicated to companies who run STEM initiatives across the country.

If you’re impressed with our careers page and want to submit your profile, please get in touch through our contact page.

School activities

If you don’t want to volunteer by yourself, there are a number of groups who run school activities throughout the year. They visit schools and help to get students involved in STEM using hands-on, engageing activities. If you would like to get involved with any of these groups, please visit our School Activities page to find out more. 

Check out our Video

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