Partnership will see free rail transport and buses provided to 2,000 female students for next year’s STEM showcase in the RDS
I Wish, the organisation inspiring teenage girls towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers, has announced an increased national partnership with Iarnród Éireann. Over 2,000 female students from 15 locations across the country will be provided free rail transport to the annual I Wish STEM Showcase on 8 February 2024 in the RDS, Dublin. This is an 185% increase on the hugely successful pilot scheme, which took place earlier this year.
Bus Éireann will also be partnering once again, providing free return busses from Heuston Station to the event.
The dedicated I Wish STEM return trains to Dublin, featuring talks from female STEM influencers in Iarnród Éireann, will travel from Cork, Tralee, Killarney, Charleville, Thurles, Mallow, Sligo, Portlaoise, Galway, Kildare, Newbridge, Limerick, Waterford, Kilkenny and Carlow. The speakers will include ecologists, environmental scientists, mechanical engineers, digital forensics and cyber security experts.
Teachers can sign-up for free train and bus services and register for the I Wish showcase event at www.iwish.ie/register. The 2024 event will mark the 10th anniversary for I Wish, with the STEM showcase to host 3,000 girls while also offering a global audience the opportunity to host their own I Wish watch parties at a later date.
Caroline O’ Driscoll, co-founder of I Wish said: “We are delighted to announce the expansion of our valued partnership with Iarnród Éireann for our forthcoming I Wish 2024 Showcase. This expansion will allow us to provide free transport to our event for over 2,000 girls across 15 locations ensuring that location, and cost, are not barriers to girls who want to learn more about the opportunities in STEM.
“We know from our data that access to role models is incredibly important to girls. This partnership is also a great opportunity to hear from amazing role models at Iarnród Éireann about the myriad of STEM opportunities available.”
Suzanne Flynn, Head of Talent Development at Iarnród Éireann added: “This is an important expansion of our already existing partnership with I Wish which will see us supporting their mission and our dedication to inspire teenage girls towards STEM careers. At Iarnród Éireann we work extensively to recruit women into STEM roles through a range of inclusive recruitment initiatives. With increased gender representation as a core pillar of our strategic goals, we are making great strides towards greater female participation.
“With barriers persisting for female students in STEM according to the recent annual I Wish Report 2022, including poor gender equality and a lack of confidence, we hope that partnerships like this will help towards accelerating the pace of change.”
Linda Allen, Senior Manager of Talent and Diversity at Bus Éireann said: “Bus Éireann are actively addressing their representation gaps through an inclusive recruitment strategy. As part of our ‘Driving Change Sustainability Strategy, 2021-2030’, Bus Éireann has set clear objectives in relation to gender representation across the organisation.
“Representation across our workforce, but particularly in our frontline services, is our challenge and our focus. We see I Wish as an integral part of this strategy. We are delighted to partner again this year.”
The I Wish aim is to continue to provide female STEM role models, and STEM work experience opportunities; to develop policies that address gender differences in STEM after graduation, which deplete the pool of role models; to improve and better inform access to STEM subjects for all Senior Cycle students; and enhance focus on STEM-related careers in the Junior Cycle curriculum. I Wish advocates for engagement in STEM from early years education.