Helping Dundalk Students to Succeed in School and Life


Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) and global test firm Prometric have renewed their partnership for 2013 to support STEM learning in Dundalk schools. Prometric, in addition to a financial contribution to Junior Achievement, will again organise a team of employee volunteers to visit Dundalk-area schools and mentor students. Planning is also underway for Prometric and Junior Achievement to host a visit for students to Prometric’s Dundalk office to see the types of rewarding careers they can achieve by staying in school and taking an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Back row – Aoife O’Connor (Prometric HR EMEA), Niall Foley (Prometric Test Design Ireland), Conor Neacy (Prometric Project Planning Ireland), Sharon Mooney (Prometric Technology Ireland), Sinead O’Reilly (Prometric Test Design Ireland), Michael O’Reilly (Prometric Test Quality Ireland) Front Row – Laura McCutcheon (Prometric Project Planning Ireland), Siobhan Kelly (Junior Achievement), Lisa McKittrick (Junior Achievement), Holly Dance (Vice President Test Development Operations, Prometric)

“The support of Prometric for Junior Achievement, combined with the voluntary efforts of Prometric staff means students in Dundalk and the surrounding area will continue to be offered unique learning opportunities in the coming year. We are grateful for the support of Prometric, which allows us to offer local schools the chance to bring the real world of global economics, technology and education into the classroom and complement the work of teachers in key subject areas like Science, Enterprise and Technology,” said Helen Raftery, CEO of Junior Achievement. “We look forward to building on our great working relationship with Prometric staff to inspire young Dundalk students and to work with them to realise their potential.”

In their first year, Prometric volunteers delivered Junior Achievement’s “Our World” STEM programme to 11 classes in Dundalk, across five primary and secondary schools. Areas of learning and mentoring included:

  • Success Skills – Business/Technology
  • Our Community – Business
  • Our Universe – Science

Sinead O’Reilly, a Prometric Test Design Specialist, and students wrote a rap song about energy.

“My experience as a volunteer on the Junior Achievement partnership is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said O’Reilly. “I am grateful to Prometric for taking on such a commitment and allowing employees like me to use our experience outside the workplace to help motivate children of all age-groups. The principal was so delighted with the children’s effort that she asked them to perform the rap in the gym. I have put my name down to volunteer again for the new mathematics programme, Sum It Up, which starts next September. I highly recommend the experience. Everyone should try it. The rewarding feeling is fantastic.”

New this year, Prometric volunteers will introduce Junior Achievement’s interactive Sum It Up programme to Dundalk schools. Sum It Up adds to the learning students receive in the classroom by demonstrating the importance of maths in real life situations.

“We have an amazing group of employees in Dundalk, with local ties to Dundalk who want to give back and inspire students to become successful in school and in their careers,” said Holly Dance, Prometric’s Vice President of Test Development Operations. “The children themselves are enthusiastic learners, and it’s fun to see the energy my colleagues bring back with them to the office.”

Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) has worked with business leaders, students, teachers and principals from all over Ireland for 17 years. Last year (2011/12) partnerships with 150 corporate supporters provided 3,000 trained business volunteers to deliver JA-approved programmes to 70,000 pupils across primary and second levels.

Programme development and delivery incorporates research and knowledge gleaned from work with partners in Ireland and from across a global network as JAI is part of a worldwide organisation reaching out to 9.3 million young people each year. The quality of programmes and services results in strong and growing demand for programmes and projects in schools throughout the country.

Our expertise in volunteer training and management incorporates the dynamics involved in shaping young people’s attitudes and ambitions in terms of their plans for further education. Each of our development decisions centres on our mission: to inspire young minds and to encourage young people to stay in formal education. JAI is committed to working with companies and organisations to provide structured enterprise, science, maths, life skills education programmes and projects to students in both primary and secondary education.

Prometric’s Dundalk operation is one of the newest high-tech multi-nationals to locate in Ireland.  In 2012, the U.S.-based company announced the opening of its operations centre in Dundalk, with plans to create more than 100 skilled jobs over the next three years.