Second and third year students from Nagle Community College in Mahon along with their teachers Jack Butler and Martina Kingston, and Diane Beckingham from BITCI, as well as representatives from Gas Networks Ireland, Grainne O’Reilly, David Russell, Fintan Murphy, Nigel Kelleher, and Paul McCarthy. Photos: Adrian O’Herlihy

The real world of work

Students from a Cork city school were recently given an invaluable insight into what the working world is really like under a new initiative.

The 2nd and 3rd year students from Nagle Community College in Mahon visited Gas Networks Ireland’s headquarters in Cork city as part of Business in the Community Ireland’s (BITCI) World of Work programme.

The programme aims to increase student retention rates by showing students the many career and further education opportunities available to them when they stay in school and attain a Leaving Certificate.

The visit provided the students with an opportunity to tour Gas Networks Ireland’s headquarters and meet with its employees, as well as learn about presentation skills and the importance of sustainability to the national utility.

Gas Networks Ireland, the operator of Ireland’s gas grid, and BITCI, the country’s leading organisation in driving responsible business, have been helping to bring the world of work to students at Nagle Community College for over 15 years.

Gas Networks Ireland’s Social Sustainability Manager, Gráinne O’Reilly, said: “It’s great to hear from both the teachers and students how inspiring these initiatives can be in giving insights into the many and varied roles in the workplace.

“We are very proud of the positive impact this can have on students, how it helps to broaden their horizons and help make them more aware of potential career opportunities.

“Employee volunteering is a key part of our social engagement strategy. Since 2007, over 200 of our employees volunteered with around 500 students from Nagle Community College to help them gain insights into working life at Gas Networks Ireland through Meet & Greet and Day in the Life sessions, as well as delivering life and practical skills training,” she said.

Jack Butler, a teacher at Nagle Community College, said: “I would like to sincerely thank all at Gas Networks Ireland for the sharing of their expertise and facilitating this site visit, as well as the many workshops, work experience opportunities, seminars, and mentoring sessions they have run with us over the last 15 years, which greatly benefitted our students.”

Along with the World of Work programme, Gas Networks Ireland has also worked with BITCI to deliver its Time to Read literacy and Time to Count numeracy programmes for primary schools across the country, as well as providing mentorship on the Management Excellence for Principals and Teachers programme.