Today, Monday 15th April, Dublin City University hosted a special event entitled ‘Accessing Your Future Talent’ to mark the launch of the new DCU Access to the Workplace Programme. This pilot initiative will provide up to 50 DCU Access students with a high quality work placement this summer, hosted by over 35 leading Irish companies participating in the scheme in 2019.
DCU’s Access Programme, now in its 28th year, is the largest programme of its kind in Ireland, supporting nearly 1,300 students in the 2018/19 academic year. It makes third level education attainable to talented students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and provides a range of personal, financial and academic supports to enable students to thrive and excel in their studies in DCU.
The DCU Access to the Workplace Programme is an additional opportunity that has been offered to Access students who are currently in the second year of their studies in DCU. It was developed through a collaboration between DCU’s Access Service and DCU Educational Trust, a registered charity which builds relationships with individual and corporate supporters of DCU.
Speaking at the launch event, Cathy McLoughlin, Head of DCU Access Service, stated:
“We know that many of our Access students rely on summer employment to save for the upcoming academic year and we welcome the strong response to Access to the Workplace from DCU’s corporate supporters so far. Their commitment to offer meaningful work placements will allow our students to not only generate a modest income this summer but also to prepare for working in a professional environment and to gain experience in their chosen field.”
Participating students and companies who were present at the launch enjoyed a keynote address by Sandra Healy, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at DCU which looked at DCU Access to the Workplace within the broader context of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In her address, Sandra discussed how creating a diverse and inclusive work environment can enable employers to acquire talent and meet future skills needs. The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion with Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, Paul Kiernan, Talent Acquisition Lead with EirGrid, and Emma Lockwood, a DCU Access graduate and former EirGrid intern, who shared their perspectives on the benefits of programmes like Access to the Workplace for the employer, employee and the University.
The panel discussion was chaired by Jason Sherlock, Associate Director with DCU Educational Trust, who was instrumental in the development of the initiative working together with Cathy McLoughlin and Fiona Hudson from DCU’s Access Service. Speaking at the event, Jason commented:
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to Access to the Workplace from our corporate supporters since we began to seek partners in January 2019. The companies who support DCU’s Access Scholarship Programme truly believe in the potential of the students whose studies they support and were keen to provide additional opportunities to prepare these students for the workplace.”
Speaking on the topic of access to talent, DCU President, Professor Brian MacCraith, said:
“With over 28 years’ experience of running Ireland’s largest Access programme, we know that our Access students excel academically. But they also possess other attributes, such as resilience, adaptability, and the ability to apply critical thinking skills to new challenges. These are the very attributes that employers are looking for. For that reason, I am convinced that it is not only our students who will benefit from this initiative, but also that the companies participating in Access to the Workplace will benefit from the talent and motivation of our students this summer.”
PwC is one of the companies taking part in Access to the Workplace in 2019. Speaking at the launch event, Brian Leonard, Partner with PwC stated:
“We are delighted to be a partner of DCU’s new Access to the Workplace Programme. We were involved in delivering a work-readiness module for the students participating in the pilot programme this year and were very impressed by their level of engagement. The energetic and ambitious students that we met would be an excellent addition to any workplace.”
The companies taking part in Access to the Workplace in 2019 are:
Companies looking for additional information about the DCU Access to the Workplace Programme or wishing to express an interest in getting involved should contact DCU Educational Trust by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.