In a week when Ireland marked the anniversary of the historic 1918 election, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh met with two founders of I Wish at Government Buildings.
I Wish works to inspire young Irish women to follow a career path in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)
Gillian Keating and Caroline O’Driscoll outlined what drove them to set up I Wish 6 years ago, and the preparations for their fifth event in Dublin and Cork in February, when six thousand young women will get to see the opportunities STEM can offer them.
Co-founder of I Wish, Gillian Keating said ‘It was great to meet Minister McHugh just a few weeks into his time at the Department of Education and Skills. Ours was a very positive and engaged discussion about the importance of young women in STEM education and industry, and we look forward to continuing a great working relationship between I Wish and the Minister and his team’
Fellow co-founder Caroline O’Driscoll added: ‘We were also delighted to take the Minister through the work we do with teachers at the I Wish Teach IT zone to listen to the views of the teaching community, and to confirm that teacher participation has doubled, year on year. We look forward to strengthening our ties with the Department to continue to support teachers’ efforts to embrace STEM in the classroom ‘
Minister McHugh is himself a former Maths and Geography teacher at second level and he praised the ambition of the I Wish team in their achievement so far and plans for the future.
He noted in particular the I Wish Campus Week initiative, coming up in January. It sees Transition Year girls spend five days at third level, immersing themselves in STEM through workshops, demonstrations and site visits. At the moment, the programme is running at University of Limerick and Cork Institute of Technology. Minister McHugh expressed an interest in seeing it rolled out further and was keen to offer help to make that happen.
‘In my position I’ve had the chance to witness some amazing work being done by groups driven by Ireland’s young women. Organisations like I Wish are pushing an open door with me, in terms of realising how important it is that female students get every opportunity possible, in STEM and elsewhere.
As we pass the 100th anniversary of the first election which allowed Irish women to vote, the Minister added: ‘It’s important that we support these young women and help them make the most of their incredible potential’.