This piece was originally published in the Department of Education and Skills website, 27th June 2017. 

100 second level students will get to grips with innovation at UCD. Nearly 1,000 places available across the Country.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, visited the first day of the UCD Innovation Academy Summer Camp on Monday, where 100 senior cycle second level school students were developing their flair for innovation. The initiative was funded by the Department of Education and Skills through the Higher Education Authority. It is a key action in the government’s Action Plan for Education, which aims to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe. The Minister’s objective is to introduce second level students to entrepreneurship, creativity, design skills and innovation. 40% of participants are from DEIS Schools.

The camp will help participants develop creative confidence, entrepreneurial thinking and leadership skills. During the week students will practice skills such as Design Thinking, pitching new ideas and rapid prototyping. They will have an opportunity to use emerging technologies such as 3D Printing and Virtual Reality. They will also learn from guest speakers.

Speaking after the event, Minister Bruton said “I was delighted to visit the UCD Innovation Summer Camp today and witness the students as they tackle their first innovation challenges. It’s vital that we support and encourage entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in our second level students and I’ve no doubt that the skills acquired by the students this week will be of huge benefit to them in the future.”

With a strong emphasis on learning through doing, teamwork and learning for the real world, students will develop their capacity to think, feel and act in a creative, innovative and entrepreneurial manner and develop key transversal skills around teamwork, resilience, communication, leadership, and positive learning habits.

Professor Suzi Jarvis, the Founding Director of UCD Innovation Academy noted “We are delighted to be included in this new initiative. The world of work that these students will graduate into is changing at an accelerating rate. This represents a real challenge for our education system to keep pace. At the Innovation Academy we believe that by developing an entrepreneurial mindset in learners and educators alike, we can support the next generation to adapt and live well in the world.”

Minister Bruton met with participants on the Professional Diploma for Entrepreneurial Educators on the subject of ‘Leadership in Education’. This highly innovative programme brings together a network of teachers and academics across disciplines in primary, second level and higher education who are the forefront of reforming Education for the 21st century. The Educators are also engaging with the summer camp students, as a source of inspiration and feedback, to help develop innovative ideas to apply in their schools and colleges in September.