NUI Galway Celebrates First Cohort of its Youth Academy

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Nine year old Tony Evans Wanjau from St Patrick's Primary School, Galway, receiving his certificate on completion of the Youth Academy at NUI Galway.

Over 60 primary school children from across Galway City and County successfully completed NUI Galway’s Youth Academy at a special ceremony recently. The Youth Academy programme ran over a six-week period on Saturday mornings with a number of courses on offer including: Italian Language and Culture; Philosophical Discovery; Psychology- Who We Are, How We Think and What We Do; and Engineering- Structural, Environmental and Climate Studies.

The Youth Academy aims to work with high-ability primary school children in the local community to support their learning and academic development. The programme aims to inspire entry into third-level education by introducing children and their families to university life and by creating positive perceptions of the University and its’ academic programmes.

This pilot project was successful in receiving funding from the Bright Ideas Initiative which was launched by Professor Chris Curtin, Vice President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, who said: “We live in the knowledge economy and while education is important activity in its own right, it is vital that the economy is fuelled by able and knowledgeable citizens. The Youth Academy provides a fantastic start to children who at such an early stage are committed and eager to learn.”

The Youth Academy is the result of a collaboration between NUI Galway’s Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, Dr Caroline Heary, School of Psychology, Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative and Dr Colm O’Reilly, Irish Centre for Talented Youth, Dublin City University.

Galway City Mayor Hildegard Naughton, who attended the ceremony, stressed the importance of all institutions in the education sector partnering on activities and responding to the education needs of the wider community. She congratulated NUI Galway on their vision for establishing the Youth Academy and bringing a sense of academic challenge to the young primary school children.

Captain Brian Sheridan, a parent of one of the Youth Academy students, said: “It was a great few weeks, enjoyed thoroughly by my son Tom and, as a family, we all benefitted from just listening to him extol the virtues of each lecture. The future is indeed bright with children pioneering the uncut path.”

For further information on the Youth Academy email the coordinator, Geraldine Marley at


Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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