Monday, March 13th, 2017
Eileen Fitzgerald, Regional Coordinator, BITCI commends the commitment from our volunteers.
In my region (Kerry, West Limerick), Gerry Crean, Manager at SSE Generation Tarbert has supported the Skills @ Work for the past nine years. My first meeting with Gerry was in 2008 at the ESB Station at Tarbert when he agreed to commence a link with the local school. The station was purchased by Endesa Ireland in 2009 and more recently by SSE Generation but through these changes, Gerry and his staff continued to support the programme. Each year, he facilitates a Skills @ Work tailored to suits the needs of the students in Colaiste na Riochta, Listowel. Students there benefit from a site visit, talks on career opportunities in the energy industry, cv/interview preparation and mock interviews.
If a partnership is going to work, there must be individuals who are committed to volunteering and who understand the importance of supporting education and the local community. When a company decides to set up a partnership with a local school through the Skills @ Work Programme, the benefits for their employees are a key priority. As well as facilitating engagement with the local community, most would agree that the volunteering experience positively impacts on confidence, leadership and staff morale as well as introducing diversity to the working day!
I meet many volunteers doing their bit to support local students through senior cycle which is often the most challenging part of their education. Without them, programmes like Skills @ Work wouldn’t happen; the individuals behind the partnerships are the driving force. They are committed to supporting education and understand the importance of preparing students for the workplace. We are lucky in Ireland to have so many people willing to commit and volunteer. Last year, The Schools’ Business Partnership had 150 company and school partnerships throughout the country with over 25 partnerships celebrating ten years of participation.
Individuals like Gerry may have their corporate responsibility hats on when they choose to link up with a local school but they also see how community engagement benefits all involved especially local students finishing their education and choosing careers. All in a day’s work for our fabulous companies and volunteers!