Business

Global companies support mTech.Academy

Michael O’Hara, co-founder of mTech.Academy and chief marketing officer of GSMA; Lynne Rainey, PwC NI student recruitment partner ; Patrick Gallen, partner, Grant Thornton; Tommy O'Reilly, deputy permanent secretary at the Department of Education and Diane Morrow, co-founder of mTech.Academy

A NEW initiative, which aims to revolutionise the education system in Northern Ireland has been launched by a group of global and local companies.

mTech.Academy aims to create an experiential learning community, which will bring together ten schools with industry leading organisations for a year-long programme of mentoring, professional development and exposure to the mobile technologies that will define the future of work.

The academy, supported by firms including; PwC, Grant Thornton, BT, Novosco and Smiley Monroe has been formed as a collaboration between GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications) chief marketing officer Michael O'Hara and leading enterprise educationalist Diane Morrow, who spent 10 years teaching A Level business studies and careers in schools across Northern Ireland.

This year's programme will culminate with 100 Year 10 students getting the opportunity to travel to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, where they will present their ideas on smart cities to senior business leaders.

Mobile World Congress is an annual global showcase organised by the GSMA and attended by over 108,000 delegates including 7,700 CEOs, 190 government delegations and 3,500 members of the media.

Michael O'Hara, co-founder of mTech.Academy and chief marketing officer of GSMA, said:

“With mTech.Academy we are building a true learning experience which will allow pupils from Northern Ireland to bring their passion for mobile technology to the global stage. Last year we ran a trial programme, bringing 11 pupils from St Ronan's College Lurgan to Mobile World Congress, and it was amazing to see how well they responded to the opportunity, with many changing their subject choices as a result. Diane and I immediately set about building the mTech.Academy programme, with the goal of bringing this experience to more students from across Northern Ireland.

“There are about 200 schools in Northern Ireland, and we hope reach all of these over the next five years, closing the gap between industry and education, and preparing our young people for the exciting and dynamic workplace of the future.”

Tommy O'Reilly, deputy permanent secretary at the Department of Education added:

“The Department of Education welcomes this exciting and innovative initiative. The connection between industry and education is key, and the opportunity to have our young people from Northern Ireland experience the life changing learnings at Mobile World Congress makes this program unique. The Department looks forward to working with the mTech.Academy team as the education system in Northern Ireland continues to respond positively to the challenges of a new digital world.”

Additional supporters of the mTech.Academy programme include Around Noon, Bespoke Communications, Glandore, and W5.

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