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Galway Students Represent Ireland with Distinction in European Entrepreneurial Competition

Save the Seas

‘SavetheSeas’, a student company from Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán, represented Ireland with distinction at the Junior Achievement (JA) Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019 in Lille, France from 4 – 6 July.

‘SavetheSeas’ was founded by Stephen Connolly, Feidhlim Folan and Eanna Curran as an online retail business which raises money for charities which work to remove plastics from the ocean. As winners of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí in March this year, ‘SavetheSeas’ had the honour of representing Ireland in the prestigious pan-European stage of the competition.

SavetheSeas 2The JA Europe Company of the Year Competition in Lille featured 200+ young entrepreneurs who had qualified at a national-level and were competing for the title of JA Europe Company of the Year. A high-level panel of 10 judges interviewed the contestants and evaluated their approach to communication, teamwork, problem-solving, objective-setting, planning and review, administration and financial systems, personnel management, product development, customer focus, marketing and sales, as well as financial results. Participants also showcased their product or service at an exhibitors stand.

Last year, more than 345,000 students took part in the JA Company Programme across 40 countries. Since its launch in 1919, the JA Company Programme offers students aged 15-18 the opportunity to learn how to move a business idea from concept to reality. Throughout the school year, students produced a product or developed a service, creating their own company and managing their business from start to finish. The overall winner of the JA Company Programme 2019 was Entella Company from Turkey whose product collected waste in the sea.

SavetheSeas 3On their return to Ireland ‘SavetheSeas’ said: “Representing Ireland at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition was amazing and a huge learning curve. We have gone from being 3 ordinary teenagers in Connemara with an interest in technology and ocean and marine welfare to representing our school at national and European level.

During this experience we have interacted with experts in entrepreneurship in local companies and universities to being judged by a jury of international business leaders. We have developed a multitude of skills throughout this project and are very grateful to Údarás na Gaeltachta and Junior Achievement Ireland for this opportunity, which has further inspired and motivated us to continue with our company ‘SavetheSeas’."

Earlier in the school year ‘SavetheSeas’ had competed against more than 750 Transition Year students in seven Gaeltacht regions in Cork, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Meath & Waterford during the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí which is run in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI).

SavetheSeas 5SavetheSeas was mentored by their business studies teacher Máirín Ní Mhainnín and local business volunteer Kathleen McDonagh from GoWest. The students also received workshops on entrepreneurship from John Breslin and Jonathan Levie of the National University of Galway (NUIG).

JAI is a part of JA Europe, the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. This is the first time that winners of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí had the opportunity to take part at the European level of the competition.

This year’s JA Europe Company of the Year Competition was combined with the worldwide centennial celebration of Junior Achievement and the 30th anniversary of the JA Company of the Year Competition.

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Microsoft partners with JAI for the 2019 Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit

TESA celebrates outstanding commitment to entrepreneurship education by schools nationwide while the inaugural TESA Summit establishes a forum in which best practice is recognised and shared.
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Pictured at the launch of The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit to be hosted at One Microsoft Place on 10 October 2019 are (L-R) Paul Byrne, Deputy Director, National Association for Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD); David Ruddy, President, Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN); James O’Connor, Managing Director, Microsoft International Operations and Helen Raftery, CEO, Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI).

Microsoft Ireland will join JAI as the partner for The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit 2019. The Summit will take place on 10 October 2019 and will be the culmination of a nationwide awards initiative which celebrates the work of schools in developing entrepreneurial skills in students. Microsoft will sponsor the overall winning accolade and will also host the inaugural event at One Microsoft Place.

TESA showcases excellence in entrepreneurship education and marks the centenary of Junior Achievement (JA), which reaches out to over 10 million young people worldwide each year.

The initiative celebrates the dedication and achievements of primary and second level schools across the country that nurture entrepreneurial skills in students, helping them develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

SON2175 0024“We are thrilled to announce this partnership, which allows us to plan a worthy celebration of the incredible work being done in schools to prepare students for future successes,” said Helen Raftery, chief executive, JAI.

“The Summit will be staged at the impressive and futuristic Microsoft HQ at One Microsoft Place in Dublin’s Leopardstown on October 10. It will allow educators to exchange best practice and to participate in masterclasses. It will encourage innovation and contribute to the continuous professional development of those working to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship education in our schools.”

All TESA-accredited schools will be eligible to compete for one of the five national category prizes at the Summit, with the overall winner to be presented with ‘TESA School of the Year – Microsoft Award’.  The school deemed Ireland’s most entrepreneurial school will be invited to represent Ireland at the Entrepreneurial Schools Conference in Helsinki later this year.  

According to Eurostat, 6 million low qualified jobs will potentially disappear by 2025 while there is a 46% probability that Irish workers will have their roles automated by the 2030s. Entrepreneurship education (as defined by the European Commission) seeks to prepare students for this changed economy and uncertain future by providing opportunities for young people to develop the ability to think positively, to identify opportunities to make things happen, to have the self-confidence to achieve their goals and to use their talents to build a better society.

JAI’s model of entrepreneurship education utilises the experience of those already in the workforce to complement the work of teachers and families in preparing students to become responsible and enterprising individuals who have the skills, knowledge and attitudes to succeed. By recruiting, training and supporting volunteers from industry to match requests from local teachers, the experience and passion of trained business volunteers are used to great effect.

James O’Connor, managing director of Microsoft International Operations, said JAI’s celebration of entrepreneurship education in Irish schools was one they were delighted to support at their Dublin campus.

“The inaugural TESA Summit provides an important opportunity to recognise the innovative approaches taken by many schools as they look to empower their students to succeed in our digital world.

“Our ambition at Microsoft Ireland is to empower tomorrow’s leaders to achieve more through the power of technology. Through our digital skills programme, DreamSpace, we have committed to providing 100,000 young people with bespoke digital experiences at our innovation and education hub at our new campus whilst our recent partnership with DCU has empowered 400 student teachers to deliver coding sessions in Irish schools. All of these efforts will help ensure our students leave school ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

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HSBC continues to be focused on More Than Money

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For the 11th year HSBC Global has partnered with Junior Achievement Worldwide to deliver a financial literacy and entrepreneurship programme to 11-12 year olds. Aptly named More than Money, students use innovative thinking to learn money-management skills that support positive attitudes as they explore and enhance their career aspirations and their understanding of entrepreneurship.

In Ireland, 1,700 students have participated in More Than Money through in-class programmes and workshops with 70 volunteers from many of our supporting organisations since the beginning of the academic year.

MTM 3In November and then again in March, students from St. Patrick’s Boys National School and Presentation Primary School, George’s Hill descended into HSBC offices at Grand Canal for a morning of financial literacy and entrepreneurship activities. Volunteers learning almost as much as students about being a SMART consumer, entrepreneurial skills, and saving, earning, and spending their well-earned money.

Liz Costello, a teacher inPresentation Primary School said “The girls very much enjoyed the workshop and the interactions with the staff. It was a great experience for the pupils to learn outside of the school environment. As a DEIS school, it exposed them to a different experience and enabled them to work to their best ability.”

Students started off by deciding they should save up to donate money to charity, help the homeless, buy presents for their parents or spend all their money on sweets! Competitiveness came out in droves as students played the More Than Money monopoly style board game, totted up their bingo scores, and created their own successful company.

A student from St. Patrick’s Boys National School best summarised the experience: “The volunteers were very nice and it was very enjoyable. Thank You to Junior Achievement Ireland and HSBC Bank.”

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Unique Project Management Training for Teachers Celebrated

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A celebration of unique project management training for teachers was held on completion of the ‘Project Management Skills for Life for Teachers’ initiative which is run with the grant support of the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF).

The initiative, which is now in its second year, is run in conjunction with Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) and delivers project management and project-based learning training and mentoring to teachers. 36 second level teachers participated nationwide this year, aiding their pedagogy and assisting in providing high-quality instruction for students.

pm website image 2‘Project Management Skills for Life for Teachers’ is fully aligned with Key Skills, which help learners develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to face the many challenges in today’s world and are at the heart of the new junior cycle specification. Project management training for educators enables innovative and effective project based learning and allows teachers to use Project Based Learning (PBL) to bring key skills to life in classrooms.

The initiative began with an intensive week-long training in project management fundamentals followed by participation in PMIEF’s ‘Managing the Learning Project’ micro-credential programme. Earning the micro-credential allowed teachers to provide easily verifiable evidence of their knowledge and experience in integrating project management into their instruction for enhanced student learning and outcomes.

To conclude the initiative a number of teachers have been selected to study at the Buck Institute for Education’s annual PBL World conference in Napa, California to further build their capacity to integrate project management into their classrooms. All participants will now go on to promulgate PBL within their own classrooms and schools with the support of their colleagues.

Teachers from twelve different counties (Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Laois, Limerick, Louth, Monaghan, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford), a wide range of both subject areas (including Science, Maths, Business and English) and schools (Community Colleges, Community Schools & Volunteer Community Schools) are represented which allows for shared learning and collaborative practises which otherwise may not be possible.

The initiative is part of a wider collaboration between JAI and PMIEF to develop project management skills in classrooms nationwide. 2,000 students have completed the PM Skills for Life programme since its inception in the 2015/16 school year.  The programme facilitated by industry volunteers brought TY students through the core principles of project management after which they actioned their own projects demonstrating the skills they acquired through participation.

PM website 3The event attendees experienced first-hand the learning impacts of the PM Skills for Life programme as transition year students from St Munchin’s College, Corbally, Limerick demonstrated how they developed project management skills.

During the morning John Gorman, Principal, Rosses Community School and organisational pyschologist Ruth Mullally also provided their insights into the benefits of effective project management.

Helen Lowe, a participating teacher in St Munchin’s College, Corbally, Limerick said: “I am delighted to have participated in this wonderful initiative which has empowered me to utilise project management in my classroom, enhancing my instructional abilities as well as ultimately improving my students’ outcomes by helping them to also acquire and apply project management knowledge to their learning, especially those that are project-based.”

PM website 4“The 21st century demands a skilled workforce that drives organizational success and meaningfully contributes to the global economy. This requires the abilities to think critically, communicate effectively, and collaborate thoughtfully, competencies inherent to project management,” said Jeannette Barr, Executive Director of PMIEF. “PMIEF is delighted our partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland professionally develops teachers to integrate project management into their curricula so they can more deeply engage students and help them strengthen these capabilities.”

Helen Raftery, CEO of Junior Achievement Ireland, said: “We are proud to partner with PMIEF to develop teachers’ project management competencies, both to enhance their pedagogy and build confidence in deploying project based learning, which will ensure that second level school students gain an even better understanding of project management fundamentals, which are ultimately skills for life.”

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Gaeltacht student entrepreneurs heading to Europe to represent Ireland

44udaras JAI 20 SavetheSeas are winners of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí 2019 

‘SavetheSeas’, a fledgling company from Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán was acclaimed as the winner of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí 2019 National Final held in Galway. The winners of this year’s National Final will represent Ireland at the Junior Achievement Europe Company of the Year Competition 2019 competition in Lille, France in July. It is the first time that winners of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Clár na gComhlachtaí will have the opportunity to take part at the European level of the competition.

24udaras JAI 19With more than 750 Transition Year students taking part in Gaeltacht regions in Cork, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Meath & Waterford, eight teams were ultimately selected to proceed to the national final. The standards set by these regional winners means the winner of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí can be regarded as particularly astute entrepreneurs.

SavetheSeas is an online retail business with a social responsibility theme to raise money for charities which work to remove plastics from the ocean. SavetheSeas was mentored by their business studies teacher Máirín Ní Mhainnín and by local business volunteer Kathleen McDonagh from GoWest.

Clár na gComhlachtaí is developed and delivered by Údarás na Gaeltachta and JAI. Students create, operate and manage their own business as they move from the idea generation stage, to finance, production, marketing, sales right through to going to market. Local business volunteers, executives from Údarás na Gaeltachta and JAI mentored the students alongside their teachers.

Having emerged from very competitive regional finals in Kerry, Mayo, Galway and Donegal, teams from the below schools also represented their regions with great distinction at the national final:
Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Mhic Íre, Co. Cork;
Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Daingean Uí Chúis, Co. Kerry;
Coláiste Cholmcille, Indreabhán, Co. Galway;
Coláiste Pobail Acla, Coláiste Bhreandán Naofa, Co. Mayo;
Gairmscoil Chú Uladh, Béal an Átha Mhóir, Co. Dhún na nGall
Pobascoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal

35udaras JAI 19All participating students enjoyed a communications workshop with Darach Ó Tuairisg of Fíbín on the eve of the final, with each team exhibiting at a trade stand, displaying their business acumen during the judges’ interview and presenting their business ideas on stage in front of a public audience on the day of the final.

The judging panel comprising Mark de Faoite, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Bernie Ní Shúilleabháin, Telegael, was very impressed with the performance of all the students across each element of the competition however SavetheSeas just edged Píosa Beag ón Daingean, from Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne and Number Ninjas from Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair to come out on top based on the quality of their innovative business idea and overall performance on the day.

Europe-wide research shows students who participate in entrepreneurial education activities such as Clár na gComhlachtaí are more likely to start their own business, are at lower risk of being unemployed, and are more often in steady employment into adulthood. Clár na gComhlachtaí aids in the development of creativity, initiative, financial literacy, teamwork, communication skills, understanding of risk and a sense of responsibility.

34udaras JAI 19Mark De Faoite, Enterprise and Employment Director with Údarás na Gaeltachta, commented: “It was inspiring to witness such enterprising young people at the Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí 2019. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for their business ideas indicates that enterprise in the Gaeltacht areas is in safe hands. Údarás na Gaeltachta are proud to help promote student entrepreneurship in partnership with Junior Achievement Ireland and I’m sure we will be seeing more of these young entrepreneurs in the future. Special congratulations to our winning team Save the Seas from Coláiste Cholmcille for your dedication and entrepreneurial flare. I am confident that these efforts will inspire new Gaeltacht enterprises in the future.”

Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI added: “The Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na gComhlachtaí Competition has enabled more than 750 students from Gaeltacht regions throughout the country to develop and practise entrepreneurial skills which will be invaluable as they progress in schools and into their careers. I wish to thank Údarás na Gaeltachta for working with us throughout the year, as well as leaders in our partner schools and business mentors, for making these learning experiences available to students. Finally, congratulations to our Údarás na Gaeltachta Clár na Comhlachtaí 2019 winners SavetheSeas from Coláiste Cholmcille. The team will go forward to represent Ireland at the JA Europe Company of the Year Competition in Lille, France in July.”

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