In 2020 we continued with our award-winning Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education programme Energize, delivered in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI). Energize encourages students to investigate the world around them and explore careers in the exciting field of science. Energize is a hands-on, activity-based programme for 10-12 year-old students and is taught in the classroom by business volunteers.
Energize makes science and engineering simple, exciting and fun. Students explore key scientific concepts through a series of activities solving crimes using forensic science, building periscopes to understand reflective properties of light, understanding the dangers of Carbon Monoxide and exploring energy and our environment. The Energize programme has a strong focus on industry and the extensive range of careers available in the STEM sector in Ireland.
Despite the premature end of the school year due to the pandemic, 3,390 students participated either wholly or partly in the Energize programme. The programme was delivered in 112 schools by 147 volunteers from 68 different companies, with 98% of students able to identify symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning after completing Energize. We also worked with JAI to make Energize resources available online for learning at home during the pandemic.
We were delighted to launch the Energize programme virtually towards the end of 2020 with volunteers delivering the programme via video conferencing. The virtual launch followed extensive piloting and collaboration with a number of schools.
Energize - Summary of Results
students took part in programme
(another 1,630 students had volunteers allocated to their classes before COVID prevented their participation)
% female students/ % male students
(another 65 volunteers were not able to visit their class due to COVID-19)
Gas Networks Ireland volunteers
Students from schools in different counties participated in the programme this year
Carlow, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Mayo, Monaghan, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow
Students from Scoil Aiséirí Chríost, Farranree, Cork with Gas Networks Ireland volunteers at the virtual launch of Energize
Students from Scoil Íosagáin primary school in Limerick at a special Christmas Energize session
Carbon Monoxide Poster Competition
In 2020 we received 115 entries to our Carbon Monoxide poster competition, which aims to reinforce all the information students learned about Carbon Monoxide and the dangers it poses in homes. The term winners were Maya from Scoil Chaitríona Senior, Renmore, Co. Galway; Jessica from Ballyneale National School, Carrick-On-Suir, Co. Tipperary and Mia from Scoil Mhuire, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The successful entrants each winning an iPad for their class.
"The girls enjoyed the wonderful experience of visiting Gas Networks Ireland, instead of the volunteer coming to the school, as is the norm. A bus was provided free, the staff were so professional and the coursework was very suitable. The girls really enjoyed a tour of a real workplace. This showed them that with determination, they also could work in such a lovely environment in the future. They were fed from the staff canteen which was also a very kind gesture. Every aspect of the day was extremely exciting for the class".
Teacher, Scoil Chaitriona Cailini, Dublin 5
"Children in St. Damian's thoroughly enjoyed fun, hands-on activities as part of the Junior Achievement programme. All materials were provided and Christina came well prepared with engaging lessons. The lessons are very apt and suitable for sixth class with clear links to the Irish curriculum. I would recommend these workshops to any school interested in STEM activities.
Teacher, St. Damian's National School, Dublin 12
Volunteer Caitriona Murphy from Gas Networks Ireland working with a student from Scoil Chaitriona Cailini, Dublin 5 during an Energize showcase in the NSC.
Schools Business Partnership
We are a key business supporter of Business in the Community Ireland’s (BITCI) Schools’ Business Partnership Programme, an educational initiative involving Government, business and education sectors in Ireland. The aim of the initiative is to improve Ireland’s student retention and engagement at post primary level in targeted DEIS (Delivering Equality in Schools) schools, improve literacy and numeracy levels in primary schools and support leadership development of teachers and principals. Through this partnership we have long term links with schools close to our main office locations in Cork and Dublin.
Volunteers delivering a communications workshop to principals and staff from schools nationwide
Time to Read
We were pioneer funder and partner to BITCI, supporting the pilot and research for the Time to Read programme over a decade ago. Time to Read has since become a successful literacy support programme delivered throughout many communities in Ireland. The programme has four key objectives: to increase the enjoyment of reading, increase pupils’ confidence, encourage self-discovery and improve comprehension.
In 2020 our colleagues continued to volunteer their time to provide reading support to second class pupils in Scoil Aiséirí Chríost, Cork and Mother of Divine Grace, Dublin. Through the Time to Read programme we have impacted on approximately 230 young children who each have received 16 to 20 weeks of literacy support over the past nine years in Dublin and Cork.
Students and volunteers at the launch of Time to Read in Cork
Students from Mother of Divine Grace, Finglas visiting our Dublin office