Giving Students a Smart Start on Their Professional Journeys


At Extreme, we pride ourselves on our culture of giving and always look for opportunities to support causes and communities when needed. Recently, many of these activities have centered around helping young people adjust to post-pandemic life. In this new remote environment, opportunities for live, hands-on experiences are limited or often unavailable for students looking to take the next step in their professional journeys.

To expand opportunities for local students, Extreme's Ireland Team held their Smart Start Transition Year Program in November 2023. Our aim was to create a valuable learning experience for our next generation of talent, exposing them to potential career paths by providing demonstrations and firsthand knowledge and helping students build connections.

This is our second year running this program, and this year, we ran the program across 2 consecutive days and hosted over 17 students in person at the local Shannon office. Students from schools across the mid-west of Ireland participated and gained insights into the many potential career opportunities at a global technology company like Extreme Networks, including technical, financial, and operational roles.

Day 1: Finance, Supply Chain Operations, Product, & DEI

VP of Finance, Padraig Hayes led the first day with an overview of the business and how a financial career path could develop in a global organization; this was followed by a session on Supply Chain operations led by Gerry Hanrahan, Senior Director of Supply Operations. Extreme Academy partnered with Product and showed the students an insight into binary, coding, and how networks operate; Senior Director of DEI Initiatives & Partnerships Demetrius Cunningham provided insight into the importance of company culture and potential career opportunities in DEI roles and our Customer Experience team held a workshop teaching students design concepts and the students got to design their own smartwatch apps.

Day 2: Virtual Tours, Guest Speakers, IT Roles, and Legal Roles

Solutions Engineer, Simon Vosper took the students on a virtual tour of Old Trafford, showing how Extreme enables the network there. Following that, we had guest speaker and psychotherapist Joanne Hanrahan help demonstrate to students how to navigate from school to career via college courses or apprenticeships. Students learned about the role of data analytics in the technology world and the skillsets required for sales in a tech environment. Finally, CIO John Abel walked students through his career in IT, and Chief Administrative & Sustainability Officer Katy Motiey gave an overview of the legal side of business.

Introducing Career Paths in STEM to Students

The Smart Start Transition Year Program enabled massive collaboration amongst the wider, global Extreme community, including different departments and individuals of varying seniority. More importantly, we accomplished our goal of introducing students to new paths they can pursue as careers and sparked interest in technology and STEM. We are also proud to note that of the 17 students who participated, 40% were young women – an encouraging thought in the movement to increase female representation in STEM fields.

Hear what the students had to say about their experience!

“I really enjoyed this program as it taught me more about work and the outside world than my 4 years inside school. I would love to have a job here in the financial team as I am strong at math, and I can see myself working here when I am older.”

“I liked the enthusiasm the employees had for their area of work and how they engaged us in the way they spoke so passionately about their jobs.”

“It made me consider jobs in sales and supply chain as both seemed very interesting and challenging.”

“I did not realise there were so many different areas in an IT company. There are loads of areas to think about’

“It made me realise how I would actually like to be involved in a job to do with technology like we saw.”

Smart Start Program with Extreme Networks

Smart Start Program with Extreme Networks

Smart Start Program with Extreme Networks

Smart Start Program with Extreme Networks

Smart Start Program with Extreme Networks

Smart Start Program with Extreme Networks

Plans for the Smart Start Transition Year Program to rerun in February 2024 are underway and we hope to further develop the program to promote STEM for girls, encourage early introductions to technology careers, and set the foundation for other teams at Extreme to replicate the program in across the world.

Early career development plays a crucial role in the success of students and serves as a powerful tool to bring about change. I am super proud of our team for driving this initiative, and we all look forward to running the program again!

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Fiona Rellis
Director of Accounting

Director of Accounting

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