A former Mayfield Community School student has been awarded a bursary which will help him in progressing with future studies.
Faruq Musa who is now studying Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Maynooth University was recently presented with a cheque of €1,000 under the Johnson & Johnson’s Access to Education, Bridge to Employment programme.
He will receive a total of €3,000 over three years to help him progress in his studies as part of the programme which aims to encourage and assist students in Cork city to stay in school and progress to further and higher level education, with a particular focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines.
A total of three schools in the city run the programme including Mayfield Community School, Terence McSwiney Community College and North Monastery Secondary School.
Partners in the programme include Johnson & Johnson’s Cork-based companies, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, Janssen Pharmaceutical Sciences Unlimited Company, DePuy Synthes, and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), University College Cork (UCC), Cork Education and Training Board (Cork ETB) and Junior Achievement and Business in the Community.
The school’s guidance counsellor Marie O’Regan said that this phase of the programme began when Faruq was in third year and sees the students through to their sixth year in school with additional tuition and mentoring.
“As well as getting academic support, we had 20 students in last year’s class in this project where they got extra tuition, extra support classes and we ran a big career fair in the school. Through this programme, they would have had a mentor who was an employee of Janssen who met them up to four times in fifth and sixth year.
“So the company paid for us to go and visit them and for them to come and visit us in our school to mentor and motivate them and to support them in progressing in their studies,” she said.
Ms O’Regan said that many students would not have contacts in such companies and so the programme opens doors to those students and gives them the opportunity to secure work placement during their third year of college.
Speaking to The Echo, Faruq Musa said that he is “really delighted” to have received the bursary.
He said he is enjoying his college course to date despite the fact that most of his learning is online-based due to Covid-19.
“I love it so much so far,” he said.
He said that he always had an interest in science in school and that the Access to Education, Bridge to Employment programme got him “even more interested in science”.
“It’s good to help me with my work placement and when I’m done with college too I could have the opportunity to work straight up for them,” he said.
Although Faruq said he does not know just yet what area he wants to work in when he graduates from college, he looks forward to further engagement with potential employers through the programme.
The programme will be launched again in the coming year for the school’s current third year students.