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*St Caimin’s Community School TY students Rebecca Grady, Sixmilebridge, Eoin Cadogan, Sixmilebridge and Ella Hasty, Shannon with Sergeant Marie Crowley, Niamh Shaw Irish Engineer, Scientist and Performer and Loyola O’Brien Airport Police Sergeant / Chief Fire Officer, Shannon Airport. Pic Arthur Ellis.

Transition year students from St Caimin’s Community School and St Patrick’s Comprehensive in Shannon were told of diversity’s importance in society and the workplace, following dreams, bridging gaps in inequality and to ignore gender stereotypes on International Women’s Day. 

Scientist and aspiring astronaut, Dr. Niamh Shaw told students in a panel discussion to ignore gender stereotypes in their future careers in Shannon on Friday morning. “Never apologise for what you dream of becoming, we are all different people it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, except yourself. Stop looking for reasons why life isn’t as you imagined. Instead get up, show up and give it 100%.”

Julie Dickerson Managing Director of Shannon Engine Support (SES), Deputy CEO of Shannon Group Mary Considine, Shannon Airport’s Chief Fire Officer and Airport Police Sergeat Loyola O’Brien, Limerick Institute of Technology physics lecturer Dr. Leah Wallace, Sergeant Marie Crowley and senior lecturer at the University of Limerick, Dr. Owen Doody were the panellists in the event sponsored by SES and Shannon Group to mark International Women’s Day.

Moderated by Andrew Murphy, MD of Shannon Airport, the panellists detailed their own journeys through their career paths and discussed the importance of diversity both in society and the workplace at St Caimins Community School.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Niamh Shaw, who devotes her time to informing and educating people about space and science, maintained it is essential young people are encouraged to follow their dreams and don’t be afraid to risk failure. “I want you to start to explore your perception of failure, it’s something that can often prevent us from taking even one step forward. If you can change your notion of what failure is, that can have a positive impact on how you view your life and more importantly, your goals and aspirations”.

Dickerson said diversity in the workplace benefits everyone. “The best companies in the world are the ones that celebrate difference, that have people from different backgrounds. That means there’s the world of opportunity out there for you.  Think of what Niamh Shaw wants to do; she wants to be the first Irish astronaut.  That shows you that if you truly want to be something, set your mind to it, plan it out, you can get there.  If you have a dream, however big that is, chase it.  The journey will be so worth making in the end.”

Mary Considine, highlighted the importance of focusing on the huge gains made in terms of bridging the inequality gap.“Everyone male or female will more than likely be faced by some degree or another of inequality in life, whether it is gender based, socio inequality, age or inequality. It is a very exciting time for young people like yourselves who are about to embark on their adult life and careers. It is important I think to face the future with optimism.”

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