Microsoft Ireland and JAI: empowering tomorrow’s leaders

Through its digital skills programme, DreamSpace Microsoft Ireland has committed to engaging 100,000 young people with bespoke digital experiences at their new campus

20th October, 2019
From left, Paul Byrne, deputy director, National Association of Principles and Deputy Principles; David Ruddy, president, Irish Primary Principals’ Network; James O’Connor, managing director, Microsoft International Operations; and Helen Raftery, chief executive, Junior Achievement Ireland at Microsoft headquarters

Through its digital skills programme, DreamSpace Microsoft Ireland has committed to engaging 100,000 young people with bespoke digital experiences at their new campus. So it was an excellent fit when the company paired up with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) to host The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit for the first time at its headquarters One Microsoft Place in Dublin earlier this month.

Joanne Morrissey, HR director at Microsoft Ireland, said the company’s mission is about empowering people to achieve more; similarly, the aim of JAI is to inspire and motivate young people to realise their potential.

“We’d been working with JAI for the last nine years, so building and hosting the event was a natural next step; you might say a good match for both of us,” she said.

“Our DreamSpace experience helps to promote what we call the five Cs – collaboration, creativity, communications, critical thinking and computational thinking,” she said. “These skills are absolutely essential in the modern workplace and equally something we see a lot in entrepreneurs who are building their own businesses. It makes sense that Microsoft Ireland and JAI would come together to work and support an initiative like this.

“What’s great about JAI is that it has a wide network across Ireland. There were 94 schools attending on the day and every corner of Ireland was represented, from Donegal to Cork, to the overall winning school from Galway.”

Morrisey said the awards should help catapult the importance of entrepreneurial education onto the radars of many more primary and second-level schools.

“We were delighted to host the inaugural TESA Summit,” she said. “It provides an important opportunity to recognise the innovative approaches taken by many schools as they look to empower their students to succeed in our digital world. Our ambition is to empower tomorrow’s leaders to achieve more through the power of technology.”

Microsoft’s DreamSpace has become part of Irish academia with primary and second-level school students visiting the hub to experience digital skills and get inspired about technology. Students and teachers are encouraged to explore how technology can enhance education in exciting new ways.

Earlier this year, Microsoft brought the educational experience, which has been running at its Leopardstown location for the past year, to different locations around Ireland in a series of pop-up DreamSpace events.

“A lot of the content we cover in DreamSpace is very similar to some of the attributes and themes that JAI promotes through their entrepreneurship education programmes,” she said. “The focus is about equipping the next generation with the skills they need to lead happy and fulfilling lives in the future.”

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