Supporting the Future of Irish Education

By Salesforce.org | March 28, 2018 | , | Education

CodePlus, a Bridge21 initiative, receives $100,000 grant from Salesforce.org

At Salesforce, equality is one of our core values and we believe in supporting equal access to education for all in order to build a diverse pipeline of talent for the future workforce.

Today, our Dublin office hosted Ireland’s Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD for a very special town hall meeting and presentation with CodePlus – an initiative from the Bridge21 project in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) designed to help address the under-representation of women in technology. As part of the event, Salesforce.org also announced that Bridge21 would receive a grant of $100,000 to support the growth of CodePlus.

CodePlus, a Bridge21 initiative, receives $100,000 grant from Salesforce.org

Pictured: Jim Green, Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs and Public Policy, Salesforce, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, Dr. David Dempsey, Senior Vice President and Country Leader for Salesforce in Ireland, Professor Brendan Tangney from Trinity’s School of Computer Science & Statistics with students Aoife and Claudia.

No other societal force has the potential to level the playing field as effectively as education. It can help to overcome adversity and promote a more diverse and equitable society. That is why at Salesforce, supporting education within our communities is something we are proud to do.

Proud tradition of supporting Irish Education

Supporting education for all has always been one of the most important ways in which we have given back to the local community in Ireland. It’s why we’ve worked with incredible organisations like St Dominic’s Girls Secondary School in Ballyfermot, St. Peters School in Bray and Citywise Education to support their STEM education programmes. Salesforce employees in Ireland have volunteered more than 35,000 hours with organisations like these in the last year alone.

Like many other countries, women are under-represented in the Irish tech sector and it’s important that we take steps to show the next generation of young women just how exciting a career in technology can be. When Bridge21 started speaking to Salesforce.org about a plan to expand their programme, it was a natural fit.

Business as a platform for change

Dr. David Dempsey, Senior Vice President and Country Leader for Salesforce in Ireland spoke at today’s town hall about the importance of business playing its part today. “21st century businesses require people with 21st century skills,” he stated. “That includes people with strong, creative minds and, of course, digital literacy. Whether it’s at a large organisation such as Salesforce or a growing startup, digital skills are going to be vital for the future workforce.

“As a business we benefit from the quality of education in Ireland. It has helped equip many of the team, myself included, with the essential skills for success. As the needs of business evolve, and the pace of change accelerates, business must recognise they have a role to play. Building great products and delivering profits is no longer enough. It is imperative that business leaders work collectively to support education programs to train people for jobs in the digital economy and bring them along.”

Speaking at the event, Ireland’s Minister for Education & Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. said, “We have set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026. There are many aspects to delivering on this ambition including providing the highest quality STEM education experience, breaking down cycles of disadvantage to ensure everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their full potential and building better bridges between industry and education.

Ireland’s Minister for Education & Skills, Richard Bruton T.D.

“We are lucky in Ireland to have many of the world’s leading technology companies, such as Salesforce, based here. This provides us with a fantastic opportunity. I believe there are many ways in which education and these leading companies can work more actively together to support each other. Creating meaningful collaborations between the two sectors is one of my priorities and I welcome the excellent work being done by Salesforce in this area.”

Jim Green, Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs and Public Policy, Salesforce added, “We applaud the clear and ambitious plan of Minister Bruton to place an emphasis on digital skills for the workforce of tomorrow. At Salesforce we believe that equality starts with education – it’s by supporting education programmes for all, like Bridge 21, that business can play a role in helping Ireland reach the target of a 20% increase in STEM students at Leaving Cert and a 40% increase in female participation in STEM subjects.”

CodePlus

CodePlus is an initiative from the Bridge21 project in TCD which seeks to address the issue of female participation in tech using a two strand approach. First, it provides in-depth week-long female-only coding workshops, held on-site or in partner girls schools, and secondly through female computer engineers and IT professionals who visit all-girls schools to provide insights into careers in tech.

The $100,000 grant from Salesforce.org will help expand the reach of CodePlus, reaching more than 5,000 Irish students through workshops and in-school talks. This grant will support staff, volunteer speaker training, data collection and analysis, teacher professional development and equipment.

Professor Brendan Tangney from Trinity’s School of Computer Science & Statistics speaking at the event said, “We can’t expect students to be creative and collaborative problem solvers if we don’t model that behavior ourselves. The partnership between Salesforce and Trinity College Dublin is an attempt to practice what we preach by providing an innovative educational offering in which female secondary school students, mostly from areas with low progression to 3rd level education, can engage in a 21st century learning experience that introduces them to the world of computer coding and, in doing so, provides the opportunity to interact with female role models from the tech sector who volunteer their time and expertise.”

To find out more about how you can support Bridge 21, the CodePlus programme and the impact that CodePlus has had over the past three years please visit bridge21.ie/codeplus.