DCU Educational Trust is delighted to announce that Jacobs and Ark Life are the latest companies to support DCU’s Access Programme, and both plan to provide work placement opportunities for students through the DCU Access to the Workplace Programme in 2020.
These announcements come as welcome news for DCU Access students and demonstrate that in the midst of the current Covid-19 crisis, many companies remain committed to philanthropy and to supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their potential in life.
DCU’s Access Programme makes third level education attainable to young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and currently supports 1,158 students to attend DCU in the 2019/20 academic year.
The programme provides personal, financial and academic supports that enable students to thrive and excel in their studies. Philanthropic contributions from private donors such as Jacobs and Ark Life are crucial to enable DCU to provide an annual scholarship to Access students.
DCU Access to the Workplace was developed in 2019 as an additional support to enhance the future career prospects and social mobility of Access students. Research by the Higher Education Authority has highlighted the need for such interventions, with figures revealing that even when all other factors are equal after graduation, students from disadvantaged areas continue to earn less than students from more affluent areas.
Through DCU Access to the Workplace, companies who support Access scholarships also commit to provide a paid, professional summer work placement for Access students. Over 39 leading Irish companies participated in the pilot programme in 2019, providing placements for 50 students. Research from the pilot demonstrated that 94% of participating students would have lacked the familial and professional networks to secure similar quality work experience alone.
Speaking on the announcement of two new partners for DCU Access to the Workplace in 2020, Joe Quinsey, CEO of DCU Educational Trust stated:
“We truly value the commitment which Ark Life and Jacobs have made to support DCU Access students in these challenging times. With Access students coming from low-income families who tend to suffer the most severe effects in any economic crisis, the financial supports provided thanks to their generosity will be more important than ever to our students, as will the opportunity to gain paid, professional work experience through DCU Access to the Workplace.”
Elaine Daly, Head of Human Resources with Ark Life explained why the company made the decision to confirm their support for DCU’s Access students despite the Covid-19 global pandemic:
“When we heard about DCU’s Access to the Workplace programme, we were immediately drawn to it. It’s an inspiring programme and fits with our strategy around Diversity and Inclusion. We are excited to bring a student into our workplace for the summer and to show them how their studies translate into day-to-day work within the insurance industry. Ark Life has a lot to offer and we want to make a positive impact within the community. While Covid-19 is hugely challenging for us all, we still want to support this programme and believe, now, more than ever this programme is needed.”
Speaking on their commitment to support DCU Access students over the next four years, Donald Morrison, Jacobs People and Places Solutions Europe Middle East and Africa Senior Vice President and General Manager, stated:
“We are delighted to support and invest in the next generation of graduates through the Access Programme. By ensuring those from under-privileged backgrounds are afforded equal opportunities to excel and benefit from DCU’s leading academic programmes, together we can help shape young lives, enabling them to access valuable early career and learning opportunities. Our people live and play in the communities where we work — so we are personally invested in doing what is right for people in the places and communities we connect with. Supporting ‘Access to the Workplace’ truly resonates with our core values of inclusion and we look forward to working with these students and supporting them in this challenging environment by enabling them to learn and shine.”
For more information on DCU Access to the Workplace and our partner organisations, please visit www.dcu.ie/accesstotheworkplace.