STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme receives funding for national expansion

STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme receives funding for national expansion

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD today announced the continuation and expansion of the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme which supports internship opportunities for trainee teachers across seven universities in Ireland.

The STInt programme offers STEM teachers, at primary and post-primary levels, the opportunity to work with host organisations in industry over a three-month period during the summer. This national programme is led by CASTeL researchers Associate Professor Eilish McLoughlin and Professor Deirdre Butler. One of the key strengths of this unique programme is its engagement and partnership with industry. Through the support of strategic partners, 30% Club Ireland, Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) group and Science Foundation Ireland, the programme has been expanded to include host organisations across a range of industrial sectors, including technology, pharma, medical devices, utilities, financial and professional services. The funding secured for the expansion of the STInt programme for the next three years from Skillnet Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and Intel Ireland is just under €1M.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD said:

“I’m delighted to announce the further expansion of the STInt programme which provides an invaluable opportunity for trainee teachers to gain practical insights into real life applications of STEM knowledge across a range of diverse sectors. This collaborative approach between higher education, government agencies and industry provides STEM teachers with unique and engaging learning opportunities, and ultimately helps develop a more diverse future STEM talent workforce for our economy. This programme has supported 177 teachers so far and is an important support to Ireland’s future economy and society”.

The mission of the STEM Teacher internship programme is to inspire innovative learning by facilitating collaborative STEM partnerships between key stakeholders in schools, universities, and industry. Established by DCU in 2016, it has evolved to an award-winning national programme offering internship opportunities to pre-service and early career teachers from a range of STEM specialisms in Dublin City University, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Galway, and University of Limerick.

This summer over 80 pre-service and early career STEM teachers will work as interns in 47 host companies across a range of contexts including fully remote, onsite and hybrid. Through engagement in these 12-week paid internships, the teachers gain hands-on experiences of a wide range of careers and opportunities available within STEM industries. To date, STInt has placed 177 STEM teachers in hands-on roles in over 40 of Ireland’s leading companies. As a result of their STInt experience, many teachers will help to inspire future generations of their own students to pursue a career in STEM.

Professor Dáire Keogh, President of Dublin City University, said:

“Dublin City University is very proud to be an integral part of the uniquely global STEM Teacher Internship programme. From its inception, the programme has sought to offer STEM teachers the opportunity to bring new perspectives to their learners in the classroom, new and innovative ways of engaging with content while supporting learners to become critical and engaged thinkers, championing STEM careers, shaping and transforming the future of STEM across the country. Its success is evident as many different sectors have gathered behind this project because they are committed to ensuring that our teachers, and in turn our children and young people, have access to the knowledge and expertise needed to transform lives and societies well into the future. These vital sources of funding are enabling the sustainability of the project for another while longer, ensuring that even more pupils can join the path of equality of access and opportunity.”

Tracey Donnery, Director of Policy and Communications, Skillnet Ireland said:

“Skillnet Ireland is delighted to partner with the STInt programme managed by DCU which engages seven universities and early career teachers from 32 degree programmes to support and inspire innovative learning. Our future teachers play a vital role in our efforts to secure a strong and diverse STEM talent pipeline for industry and the wider economy. Our support will help expand the STInt programme by facilitating further STEM partnerships with industry and higher education and deliver a long-term impact on the future of the workforce.”

Maria Campbell, HR Director, Intel Ireland said: 

“Intel is delighted to be funding the STEM Teacher Internship Programme in 2023. We have witnessed the growth of this programme since we hosted our first intern in 2017 and are proud to be among the 30+ technology companies that have hosted STInt interns since then. Furthermore, Intel supports the scaling of this innovative STInt programme to national level- this goal is well on its way to being achieved, with 7 teaching institutes across Ireland participating in the programme in 2023.”

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland said:

“Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme which gives teachers valuable exposure to real life applications of STEM knowledge and the opportunity to see STEM careers in action. By bringing together champions in industry and education to work together in this holistic manner, we are growing the pool of STEM role models for our young people. Teachers can explore the role of STEM in addressing many pressing and varied community, national and international issues and grow their confidence to effectively communicate and debate these topics with their pupils. If our teachers can help shine a light on the contribution of STEM and STEM career opportunities, our communities will be assured of a brighter future.”