MTECH.ACADEMY EXPANDS SKILLS-BUILDING INITIATIVE TO REACH 525 STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS ACROSS NORTHERN IRELAND24 September, 2019
Innovative Education Programme Garners Strong Industry Support with New Partners Allstate Northern Ireland, EY, Hayward Hawk, Liberty Information Technology and Microsoft
24 September 2019, Belfast: Extending the success of its inaugural programme, mTech.Academy today announced that it is expanding its holistic skills-building initiative to reach 450 Year 10 students and 75 teachers at 15 schools across Northern Ireland. mTech.Academy provides a school-wide programme to help students develop the “employability” skills they will need to succeed in the digital future, while mentoring educators on the future of work and changes in the career opportunities available to students.
“We are excited to be kicking off Year 2 of mTech.Academy, expanding the programme to reach new schools and engaging with additional leading industry players across the island of Ireland,” said Diane Morrow, Co-Founder, mTech.Academy. “We saw the impact that this initiative can have on students, educators and parents, particularly in broadening their understanding of new technologies and the education and career pathways open to students, as well as furthering meaningful engagement between schools and employers. We look forward to building on this strong foundation in our second year.”
With a focus on ensuring geographic, gender, religious and socio-economic diversity, mTech.Academy is working with 15 schools across Northern Ireland for the 2019/20 school year. Participating schools include Abbey Community College, Antrim Grammar School, Assumption Grammar School, Belfast High School, Dromore High School, Integrated College Dungannon, Lismore Comprehensive School, Regent House School, St. Ciaran’s College, St. Mary’s Grammar School, St. Patrick’s College, St. Patrick’s College Dungannon, St. Ronan’s College, Ulidia Integrated College and Victoria College.
Building Critical Employability Skills
For the 2019/20 academic year, students will engage in problem-based learning with a focus on driving innovation through next-generation technologies such as 5G connectivity, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Through the programme, students will develop critical employability skills that will prepare them for career success; these include digital skills such as using cloud-based collaboration tools, developing presentations, conducting online research and managing projects, as well as soft skills including critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. The students will also receive communications training to help them hone their presentation skills and build confidence.
The students’ coursework will culminate in the 2020 mTech.Academy Innovation Challenge. Students will apply the knowledge and skills they have built during the programme to create technology-based solutions that will address global issues on a local level. The students will present their visions to peers from mTech.Academy schools, educators, mTech.Academy partners, local dignitaries and parents at an Innovation Challenge event to be held in Belfast.
Mentoring Educators on New Opportunities in the Digital World
Working with leading management consultants and industry partners across Northern Ireland, mTech.Academy provides continuing professional development (CPD) to address the specific requirements of middle leaders, careers leaders and head teachers. This CPD programme is designed to give educators a broader view of how technology is supporting and enabling new career possibilities in a wide range of industry sectors; equip leaders to shape school development plans; empower teachers to influence departmental and career plans; and forge stronger industry links for career advocacy.
Gaining Hands-On Experience at International Industry Showcase
A major highlight of the mTech.Academy programme is the field trip to a leading international industry showcase. Students from mTech.Academy schools will have the opportunity to experience advanced technologies firsthand through demonstrations and discussions with technology experts, get a view of how ICT impacts various sectors of the economy and learn more about the types of careers enabled and supported by next-generation technology.
Strong Industry Backing for mTech.Academy
mTech.Academy is supported by global and local companies across a range of industries. New partners for the 2019/20 academic year include EY (Entrepreneur Partner), Microsoft (Technology Partner), Allstate Northern Ireland, Hayward Hawk and Liberty Information Technology (Industry Partners), and Agent Jones (Supporting Partner). These organisations join returning mTech.Academy partners Bespoke Communications, BT, Glandore, Grant Thornton, Instil, MCE Public Relations, Novosco, PwC and Tenacity Works.
“Building a highly capable workforce is a major priority for Northern Ireland companies; the 2019 Northern Ireland Skills Barometer cited research that nearly three-quarters of employers lacked confidence that they would be able to find sufficiently skilled people for new vacancies,” said Michael O’Hara, Co-Founder, mTech.Academy. “mTech.Academy is focused on reversing this trend, helping students to build the employability skills that companies across a range of industry sectors need today and into the future.”
Further detail on the 2019/20 mTech.Academy programme is available at https://mtech.academy.
Founded by experts from the education and technology communities, mTech.Academy delivers experiential learning for the future of work. The holistic mTech.Academy programme provides a project-based, technology-centric curriculum that addresses the specific requirements of students, teachers and head teachers, preparing them for new opportunities in the digital world. Combining innovative technology, creativity and real-world skills development, mTech.Academy empowers students, providing a strong foundation to achieve their potential.