I can still remember how hard it was to navigate my way through the secondary school years and I was always thankful for the guidance of my two older brothers who, although I didn’t realise it at the time, were my ‘unofficial’ mentors. For this reason, and because I am a former student of St. Nessans, I really didn’t hesitate when I was asked to sign up for the Student Mentoring Programme.
I was teamed up with Evan Kelly, a friendly and sports mad 5th year student. Sport was definitely our common ground from the beginning and it formed the basis for most of our early conversations but as we got to know each other better we got chatting about lots of different things, school, exams, work, families, etc.
We stay in touch regularly and try to meet up every few weeks. Sometimes we do an activity, we have gone bowling, attended a Limerick FC game at Thomond Park with some of the other mentors & mentees and Evan has even played football with me and my work colleagues in our weekly game. Other times we just meet for a coffee and a chat.
l have to admit that I’ve probably learned as much from Evan as he has from me and I feel better equipped now to deal with my own sons when they hit the teenage years!Overall it has been a very good experience for me personally and I hope that I’ve been of some help to Evan during these difficult years leading up to the Leaving Cert.
Eleanor Walsh, SBP Programme Assistant Manager & Limerick Clare Regional Coordiantor writes about Carambola Kidz who are linked with Cresent College Comp Limerick
When you click on www.carambola.ie you engage with a vibrant, energetic, informative web site that is highly reflective of this private company. Based in Annacotty in Limerick with over 70 staff, they make and deliver almost 100,0000 healthy school lunches to the students of Ireland EVERY WEEK. Their partnership with Crescent College Comprehensive is now in its second year and is equally vibrant and informative. Colm O’Brien (founder and MD) and his staff inspire the students to identify areas that they would enjoy working in. O’Brien hopes that some will set up their own business someday.
The students love hearing about the decisions and conditions that affect the business world and how in particular for Colm, previous business ventures had failed where some succeeded. The students get an opportunity to meet all the staff of Carambola Kidz and a chance to work on the production line alongside them.
Of course, being involved in healthy food lends itself to a very interesting optional session on Nutrition. All menu items for Carambola Kidz must be sanctioned by Rachel Mescall Fitzpatrick, Carambola’s Head of Nutrition, before being allowed on the menu which has been approved by senior HSE Dieticians and the Department of Social Protection.
As a result of the excellent work Carambola has done over the last 10 years, they were named IPPN ‘Preferred Supplier of School Lunches’ in January. In June they were invited to Brussels and named Ireland’s Best SME for Corporate Social Responsibility.
“We are delighted with the awards,” says Colm “however, it is the work of Carambola Kidz Foundation that really excites us at this time. The CSR Award came on the back of work we have been doing in client schools since day one of our formation. We support in-school projects such as libraries, garden work, iPad’s, etc. The list is as long and diverse as the schools themselves. We are very privileged to be able to help. Our work with kids in Crescent College Comprehensive is fantastic as it stretches us from the Primary school sector into second level. And we love it!”
Nicky Cuddihy, Principal, said “We were all delighted to see our students involved in the Skills @ Work programme. Many of last year’s students have told me how much they enjoyed learning about setting up a business and the CV preparation. We are glad to be participating again this year and congratulate everyone involved.”
Sounds like this healthy school partnership brings benefits to all involved!
FEXCO are delighted to be working with our local Killorglin Community College on the Schools’ Business Partnership. We have been involved in the programme since 2011, it has proven to be a very successful partnership and has helped build a great relationship with the school and its staff.
FEXCO, as a local employer, is always interested in engaging with students to promote education while also communicating about the business we operate and how valuable we, as a local employer, are to the community”.
I am delighted to be involved in the programme as it gives me an opportunity to raise the awareness of FEXCO with young people while also sharing expertise and knowledge, thereby encouraging and supporting them in their education.
FEXCO recognises the need to deliver a corporate social responsibility agenda to ensure that we support our local community and potential talent pool for the future.