Former teacher Claire Connelly was halfway through her PhD when she joined Google Ireland in Dublin in September 2014 as its education program manager.
Instead of giving up on her studies, she was encouraged to complete her PhD by a company that continues to inspire her to pursue her goals – including educating the next generation.
As someone passionate about education, Ms. Connelly says she found her dream job in 2014, which saw her in computer science education in Ireland, while maximizing Google’s influence elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. have seen.
“We focus on promoting access to technology learning opportunities for students and youth at the primary and secondary school levels,” she says. “It’s all about teaching young people how to think, how to create, how to solve problems. It’s about teaching them to be active creators with technology.”
In 2003, Google opened a small office in Dublin, Ireland with a handful of employees. Today, as with its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters, it has more than 9,000 workforce in Dublin in more than 100 countries – with people like Ms. Connelly in charge.
Being part of a global company means it has access to building partnerships with education initiatives, delivering computer science and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, and implementing strategies to help influence educational policy. is the opportunity.
“It’s that kind of place. If you have an idea, we have the autonomy and support to get it done,” Ms. Connelly says.
Her role continues to evolve, and earlier this year she helped launch a new education task force, when Google Ireland partnered with six primary and post-primary schools in Ringsend and the surrounding community.
The idea behind this is something they feel is very important – the need to address the challenges of transitioning to digital learning necessitated by COVID-19.
Creating pilot projects is supporting digital skill development for students, parents and teachers, while helping to protect students’ digital wellbeing.
“Working in this field means a lot to me,” says Ms. Connelly. “Education is something I have always been passionate about – to make a difference in the life of a young person. Our work is around making sure that the task force is represented by all and that I am involved in computer science and technology. There is a special interest in bringing in more girls as we need more women in the technical workforce and minority groups as well.”
Developing teaching practices that equip young people with the skills they need to learn, work and live in the challenging world of the 21st century is something that is a “high priority” at Google.
Google Ireland’s Barrow Street base has become part of a thriving digital quarter that Google Office aims to create a “stimulating and interactive environment for employees”.
It now serves as a hub for dozens of functions and teams supporting Google’s global operations.
“The building has amazing amenities – from cafes to the way meeting rooms are designed – and it is now complementing the new hybrid model with new team pods for collaborative work,” says Ms. Connelly.
“The Dublin office has a really special vibe. When you walk into the office there is a smile and a desire to help each other. There is a great energy about the place.”
With the onset of wellbeing days – essentially bonus holidays every quarter – Ms Connelly says she feels able to balance work and life as well as being the parent of three children.
“Google has given us so much flexibility – not only for families but for those who have caring responsibilities. They allow you to return to the office to support you, no matter your comfort level.
“I started out as a teacher and now I get to work with organizations to help increase technology and computer science in schools. I believe technology can be a force for good, and I apply it to my work every day. I feel incredibly lucky.”