Longford County Council, helping to empower tomorrow’s workforce through partnership and innovation



Policy areas

Organisation name Longford County Council

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Contact person: Christine Collins




In recent years, digital skills development has become a top priority for the Irish government. This urgency is reflected in national strategies such as ‘Harnessing Digital’ and ‘Adult Literacy for Life 2022’, alongside regional plans such as the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan. Recognising the digital transformation and job creation within the ICT sector, Longford County Council (LCC) launched its digital strategy, ‘Longford Centred and Connected 2021–23’, to equip its youth with the necessary skills. This initiative addresses the county’s rural character and the need to support its young population in the face of a changing job market. LCC, committed to equal opportunities, is determined to bridge the digital divide and ensure all Longford children have access to STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) education from an early age.


LCC’s STEM education programme aims to equip Longford’s young people with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the digital world. The programme fosters a growth mindset, encouraging problem-solving, creativity, computational thinking and collaboration skills, not just for STEM careers but for everyday life. Ultimately, LCC hopes to create a highly skilled local workforce that can contribute to Longford’s economic growth while ensuring the county remains a vibrant place to live, work and do business.


Given the limitations of resources and expertise in rural schools, LCC partnered with Microsoft, OurKidsCode and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Longford became one of the first countries to pilot the Microsoft DreamSpace programme, offering hands-on STEM experiences to students, teachers and communities. To address the lack of teacher training and resources, micro:bits (pocket-sized computers) were provided to participating schools, along with online tutorials and support. Recognising the national showcase’s limitations on participation, LCC launched its own ‘do your:bit’ challenge, encouraging students to use their micro:bits to create projects aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This local showcase not only celebrated student achievement but also highlighted their potential as future innovators. The programme’s success is evident; Longford schools and OurKidsCode clubs received national recognition for their technological solutions, demonstrating the programme’s effectiveness in empowering students and teachers, and bridging the digital divide in rural Longford. The DreamSpace programme’s success has led to its expansion to five other counties in Ireland.

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