Microsoft to invest €3m in educating Irish kids for future STEM careers

Microsoft is expanding its DreamSpace hub, which serves children online as well as in-person. Programmes will be delivered by qualified teachers.

Microsoft is planning to invest further in its DreamSpace initiative so that it can potentially reach 1m children with its digital skills and STEM education programmes.

DreamSpace is a hub based in Leopardstown, Co Dublin. Since its opening in 2018, it has served more than 100,000 children through virtual and in-person sessions.

Microsoft invested €5m in the project when the hub first opened with the intention of providing digital and STEM skills to children, as well as resources for their teachers and parents.

Its latest investment announcement said that €3m would be pumped into DreamSpace over the next four years.

The expansion means the tech giant will provide a suite of new offerings including Dream Space Academy for primary school ages; Dream Space Academy for post-primary schools; Dream Space Digital Academy, and updates to Dream Space Teacher and Dream Space TV.

These programmes aim to expose participants to computer science, AI, mixed reality and robotics. They will be delivered by the team of five teachers who work for Microsoft in virtual, in-person and on-demand formats.

Minister for Education, Norma Foley, TD, said that “Dream Space has developed a particularly strong track record of engaging girls in STEM education and helping them to see the many opportunities for STEM-related careers in Ireland’s digital economy. Building on that track record will be key to ensuring that every student is equipped with the skills they need to participate fully in our digital world.”

James O’Connor, Microsoft Ireland site leader and VP of Microsoft business operations international, said the company was “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.”

Foley and O’Connor’s comments come as STEM education outreach organisation I Wish published its annual report which reported that 93pc of teenage girls it surveyed rejected the stereotype that STEM careers were more suited to boys.

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