Lucan Community College takes part in ‘STEM Passport for Inclusion Programme’ designed to unlock new career pathways in STEM

by Gazette Reporter
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A joint initiative of Maynooth University, Microsoft Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, & the Department of Education and Skills providing the opportunity to 5,000 Transition Year Students to embrace a digital future

Students from Lucan Community College recently took part in the STEM Passport for Inclusion programme, aunique STEM education and mentoring initiative that aims to provide 5,000 young women from underserved communities with equal opportunities to access STEM education and unlock new career pathways in the digital economy.

Transition year students from Lucan Community College travelled to Microsoft’s campus in Leopardstown in recent weeks for an accelerated version of the STEM Passport for Inclusion programme delivered by the Microsoft Dream Space team.

The STEM Passport for Inclusion programme, developed by Maynooth University in collaboration with Microsoft Ireland, was created to help break down barriers and increase the number of girls from underserved communities entering STEM related careers. A study by Maynooth University indicates that 16% of female pupils from socially disadvantaged areas were not studying a science subject at Higher Level Leaving Certificate.

Deborah Otun; Clara McGonigle-Navarro; and Tracey Obeng

Microsoft’s Dream Space team has played an instrumental role in the co-design and delivery of the STEM Passport for Inclusion programme. As part of this, the team worked with participating universities to co-develop the Level 6 (NFQ) accredited module, which participating students can complete, equipping them with the knowledge, experience, and additional matriculation support (including extra CAO points) to help them follow a pathway to a third level STEM degree.

Established in 2021, the programme has engaged over 1,250 students to date from schools right across the country. Over the next three years, Microsoft and Maynooth University are ambitious about the reach of the initiative and hope to engage up to 5,000 TY students, with Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Education providing €600k in funding through the Discover programme and Microsoft a further €600k.

As part of the initiative, Lucan Community College students engaged in three sessions at Microsoft Dream Space and had the opportunity to learn subjects such as coding, engineering and mathematics. In addition, the students participated in the mentoring part of the programme meeting women working across all areas of STEM to learn more about their careers and what their jobs involved. The mentoring element is supported by a number of industry partners including Microsoft, Accenture, RDI Hub, Prodigy Learning, Munster Technological University, Teen Turn and Mercy Inchicore.

Speaking about the students’ experience, Audrey Byrne, Teacher at Lucan Community College, said:We were delighted to have the opportunity for our students to take part in the STEM Passport for Inclusion programme. It is a really engaging and interactive programme which inspired many of the girls that took part. Students really enjoyed visiting Microsoft Dream Space and the company’s building in Leopardstown where they met with women who work in STEM and see first-hand the doors that can be unlocked by considering a course and career in technology. I’d encourage schools across Dublin to take part so that every student has the opportunity to engage in STEM learning.” 

Chloe Bonete, Lucan Community College student and STEM Passport for Inclusion participant, said: “It was an amazing opportunity that I’m glad we could all partake in. Everyone was very welcoming, and we all came out of the experience confident with what we had learned.”

Chloe Bonete taking part in the STEM Passport for Inclusion project

James O’Connor, Microsoft Ireland Site Lead and Vice President of Microsoft Global Operations Service Center said: “At Microsoft, we’re deeply committed to helping young people to engage in STEM learning and shift their perceptions about the role technology can play in their future career choices. As the STEM Passport for Inclusion’s lead industry partner, Microsoft Ireland wants to help create new pathways for girls in STEM so that students from Lucan Community College and other schools across the country can play an active role in shaping our digital world.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the students from Lucan Community College who took part in the programme and who will be graduating in the autumn. Through our Microsoft Dream Space team and our network of mentors, we look forward to expanding the programme and working with Maynooth University to empower 5,000 Transition Year girls from underserved communities to gain a Level 6 STEM qualification.”

Katriona O’Sullivan, Principal Investigator of the STEM Passport for Inclusion and Senior Lecturer at Maynooth University’s Assisting Living and Learning Institute said:“Congratulations to all the girls at Lucan Community College who recently completed STEM Passport for Inclusion.The programme aims to ensure that every girl, irrespective of class or condition, will graduate from school with a STEM qualification, having met a woman in STEM who can inspire and support them. Through the support of Microsoft, Science Foundation Ireland, and the Department of Education, we’re aiming to reach out to over 5,000 students in 180 DEIS schools in Dublin and across the country. We will provide these girls with a university experience, an industry mentor and new pathways to college and careers in STEM.”

For more details on STEM Passport for Inclusion Programme go to

Pic: Naoise Culhane

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