Universities and Institutes throughout Ireland offer a number of different options for Transition Year placements, programmes and initiatives. Many implement a “Transition Year Week” in different faculties to give transition students the chance to live and breathe in the environment of a particular subject and sample the kind of work that is done. This is more common in the science subjects. Check out the following options:
UCD are running a ‘Transition Year Week’ at UCD Conway Institute from the 22nd to the 26th January 2008. This is a structured week-long programme which allows students who are interested in studying or working within the field of science to get an insight into life as a scientist. There are 10 places available on the programme and only one pupil from any given school is permitted to attend. There is fierce competition to get onto this programme so it is worthwhile applying as soon as possible. The course usually takes place in the last year of January each year.
UCD’s Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology (CSCB) also runs a week-long programme for TY students and gives them an insight into working in Chemistry. It usually commences in early February each year and introduces students to a wide range of studies and topics that are studied in chemistry. It allows TY students to participate in active learning through practical experiments and introduces them to the idea that chemistry can be fun! The 2007 group carried out research in the laboratories alongside lecturers and PhD students, attended lectures and talks and conducted team projects. They learnt how to build molecular models – both by hand and digitally, made aspirin, sulphonamides and amino acids, were shown how bacteria is grown, and carried out many experiments. It is a real hands-on, practical approach to learning and prepares the TY students well for the learning methods of 3rd level education as well as working in a chemistry-based environment.
UCD’s Science Outreach Event in the School of Physics takes place in the first week of December this year (3rd to 7th). The programme enables TY students to find out what it is like to study physics at 3rd level and engage in laboratory work. Last year’s group of TY students observed the effect of magnetic levitation and launched rockets among many other things! It introduces TY students to the learning methods of 3rd level physics while also demonstrating how fulfilling and fun the work can be!
The School of Physics at TCD also run a ‘Transition Year Week’ which is an action-packed week offering TY students the chance to carry out research alongside students and lecturers in the physics laboratories, attend lectures and talks, carry out a wide range of projects in different areas of physics, and create presentations about the work they have undertaken. Due to the high demand for places on this programme it is run twice a year.
The School of Computer Science at TCD runs a ‘Transition Year Week’ annually, which usually takes place at the end of November. The week-long programme explores and develops problem-solving and teamwork-building skills in relation to the field of computer science. The TY students are introduced to workshop-based projects and learning methods in computer science and gain an insight into studying this subject at 3rd level as well as working in a computing industry.
DCU offers a one-week course in web design for TY students in the Computing Department, usually throughout the month of January for TY students in the local catchment area for DCU. The TY students learn new skills in computing and discover what it is like to work in a 3rd level environment. At the end of the week they present their web sites in a ceremony.
UCC’s Physics Department runs a ‘Transition Year Week’ in March each year. TY students get to spend a week in the physics department during term, attending lectures, laboratories and getting to learn from the lecturers as well as other students. It is a real hands-on, practical approach to learning and prepares the TY students well for the learning methods of 3rd level education as well as working in a physics-based environment.
DIT’s Transport Awareness Project (TAP) is designed to enable transition year students to work on a group research project within the field of transport, logistics or road safety. In 2007, TY students carried out a pilot project and for 2008 teams of 4 transition year students are invited to research a transport, logistics or road safety project and present their research and findings. The projects are assessed in a competition and the winning team receives top prizes.
The Department of Experimental Physics at NUI Maynooth runs several programmes for TY students. These include the following:
- Visits to the laboratories in NUI Maynooth which last for approximately 2 hours and include talks on the subject as well as “fun” demonstrations are frequently scheduled in the departments of experimental physics, chemistry, biology, and computer science. - Transition Year Week for 6 students (3 pairs) in the Experimental Physics Department take place every January. TY students get to study physics in a 3rd level learning environment, consult with lecturers and students and carry out experiments under supervision. The placement provides a useful insight into the world of physics and the scale of work encompassed within the field of experimental physics.
- Open Days take place each year (usually around the end of November) enabling TY students to listen to talks about experimental physics, visit the laboratories, and talk to staff.
Science and Medicine
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) & Beaumont Hospital
Each year the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Beaumont run two week-long transition year programmes catering specifically for over 175 transition year students who have an interest in becoming a scientist or medical doctor. This year the two programmes run over the week commencing January 28th, 2008.
The first of these programmes is called Mini Med School which gives transition year students the opportunity to train and work as a medical doctor for the week. Students shadow doctors and get to see a live operation being performed, attend interactive lectures delivered by surgeons and doctors and participate in medical and scientific practicals and tutorials. During the week students are based in both RCSI and Beaumont Hospital. The opportunity allows students to really get an insight into the medical profession and get hands-on experience in the fields of science and medicine.
The second programme is called Focus on Science and specifically caters for transition year students interested in all areas of science and medical research. It provides them with hands-on experience in a range of fields – from investigating blood to drug design and evolution practicals. The programme enables students to actively get involved with the practical and theoretical elements of science and provides a real insight into careers in this field.
BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition
For transition year students interested in science it is also worthwhile entering the BT Young Scientist Award competition. The competition is open to students at 3 levels – junior (1st and 2nd year pupils), intermediate (3rd and 4th year – i.e., junior cert and transition year students), and senior (5th and 6th year students) in a selection of 4 categories: Biological and Ecological Sciences, Chemical Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Technology. This year the 44th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition takes place in the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin, from 8th – 12th January, 2008. It is one of the largest events of its kind in Europe and is definitely worth attending if you have an interest in science. Visit www.btyoungscientist.ie for more information.
Debating Science Issues (DSI) DSI is a Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) debating competition which invites young students (aged 15-18) to engage in debate on cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Students participate in a series of 3-hour workshops designed to help students learn about biomedical science through informal discussions on everything from cell research to the ethics of animal research. DSI is hosted by Irish research centres based in NUIG, UCC, TCD, RCSI and DCU in addition to W5 in Belfast.
The Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII) runs a programme called ‘Step into Marketing’ specifically designed by the Institute for transition year students. Students are introduced to marketing and the key role it plays in business success. The programme focuses on the nature of business and encourages students to think for themselves and come up with new business ideas. The programme comprises of 8 learning units, each of which covers a different aspect of marketing: marketing and customers; more customers; managing your product and services; getting the price right; getting your product to the customer; communicating with customers; doing your market research; and personal selling. On successful completion of the programme, students are awarded a Step into Marketing certificate by the Marketing Institute of Ireland.
Construction/ Health and Safety
Transition year students are now able to participate in the FÁS Safe Pass Safety Awareness TrainingProgramme, a programme that is designed primarily to raise the standard of safety awareness in the construction industry and ensure that site personnel have a basic knowledge in health and safety issues. The purpose of the scheme is to reduce the risks of accidents at work and increase health and safety levels and knowledge. Transition year students fortunate enough to participate in this scheme will be able to apply for summer jobs on construction sites after successfully completing this programme.
Transition Year students get the chance to do projects and work experience in an industry that they might not normally find easy to get into – such as radio. 2FM and ‘BCR’ 91.2FM, for examples, offer transition year students the chance to assist in the presenting, hosting, producing and researching of their very own radio programme. Not only is this excellent experience but it also provides students with a realistic outlook into the industry and what it is like to work in such a hectic environment. As part of this project, the radio production team usually conducts broadcasting workshops and specific radio training with the students.
Agri Aware, the agricultural awareness trust, have designed an exciting challenge for transition year pupils called the Local Business Buzz. The challenge encourages students to recognise the importance of agri-business in their local community while developing their communicative, research and teamwork skills. The initiative challenges students to outline the strengths and weaknesses of their local community. Students are encouraged to think independently and creatively on this scheme and can be linked to transition year subjects such as social development, environmental and social studies, and enterprise and business.
STEPS to engineering covers two series of seminars on the various disciplines of engineering to senior students (4th – 6th year) and junior students (1st – 3rd year). STEPS to engineering also hosts the following events: Discover Engineering and Week of Wonder which are specifically designed to introduce all ages of school pupils (from 1st class to 6th class) to science and engineering and encourage them to actively participate in the practical and fun side to engineering.
Week of Wonder is a week-long event designed to introduce you to the different elements of engineering while having fun at the same time. The week starts on the 11th February, 2008 and ends on the 15th. It is specifically designed for young people to discover engineering and its importance and get involved with all the activities that can make you aware of how important and interesting engineering really is.
The scheme operates several events across the countries which are guaranteed to get you discovering – and enjoying – engineering in lots of fun new ways. From treasure hunts to robot workshops and magical science shows you will not be disappointed. What better way for you to become interested in and excited by engineering and science?
In conjunction with the ‘Week of Wonder’ scheme, DCU run a Discover Engineering day which gives you the opportunity to be an engineer for the day. You get to do all the exciting things that engineers do – from building a robot to making a paper aeroplane and even discovering the engineering and science behind medical test kits – you get to do it all in an incredible day as an engineer during DCU’s ‘Discover Engineering’ scheme. There’s even a magical science and engineering show that you can watch which demonstrates just how fascinating engineering really is!
The show is interactive so you get to join in all the experiments and activities throughout its duration – from optical illusions to disappearing water and coloured flames. Get involved in engineering and you will see how much fun you can have!
Discover Engineering programmes aim to increase the student uptake of science at 3rd level and promote positive attitudes towards embarking on a career within the science, engineering and technology sector.
Anyone 4 Science run a wide range of fun, interactive workshops, school tours, school visits and science camps across the country in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry and PharmaChemical Ireland. Various experiments, demonstrations and activities are carried out by the students to increase their knowledge and interest in all science-related issues. Typical workshop topics cover the following: density, acid base chemistry, electricity, light, solar power, forces, investigating matter, and pneumatics.
Anyone 4 Science, in conjunction with PharmaChemical Ireland, runs a series of science camps during the summer entertaining and informing children from junior infants right through to teenagers.