60 seconds with Simon Park, IT Manager from Ballina Beverages

Uncategorized - May 21, 2014

Simon Park, IT Manager from Ballina Beverages gives us a unique insight into participating in The Schools’ Business Partnership.

What is your favourite part of the programme?
FE Ballina Bevs 1The careers day, because we bring together lots of people in the business to share their experiences with the students. I find the interaction combines practical career path knowledge in an enjoyable and exciting way, and I think everyone gets lots of positive energy from the interaction at this event which is the precursor to the CV and interview skills training and ultimately the mock interviews themselves.

How long have you been involved?
From the start of our company involvement, about seven years. Initially I was just one of the team who helped but three years ago I was asked to coordinate the programme as the engineering team became the custodians within our business. Let me say though that this programme is successful because the whole team are individually and collectively “owners” and want to work with the students to share their own learnings.

Have you done it before?
Yes, and I would definitely miss doing it if circumstances were to change.

Which part of the programme is the most fun for you?
FE Ballina Bevs 2Every part of the programme combines valuable learning and fun for the students and the hosts. As part of team building we do a “Murder Mystery” with students, teachers and colleagues from our business. We go off site, get dressed up and spend a few hours together figuring out the clues. It teaches the students problem solving, working as a team and it helps them with their confidence and their public persona. There are some fantastic talented students that make the day just great.

What is the biggest challenge?
There are none really because people want to help and to give their time. The students love coming on-site to work with us, and they get a chance to eat lunch in our restaurant. Afterwards the fridge is devoid of ice cream and all of the deserts are gone. Explaining that can be a challenge!

If I could tell all the students and volunteers in the programme one thing what would it be?
Taking part with a positive attitude is one of the best things we can all do. I remember once seeing a young boy spontaneously encourage somebody he didn’t know in the swimming pool – they became great friends and they can both swim! Life is a bit like that; to try and not be successful is fine – you will try again; if you don’t try you will never know what you are missing! It is very rewarding to help others achieve, and if you try I believe there will always be somebody there to help you swim.

My hope for the future of the programme is…..
It’s a simple hope really. That the program is sustainable and that every year all of the participants on the programme take away something positive from being involved and that they share their experiences with the classes coming behind them to help encourage the success of this partnership.

Just for fun! Who is your hero and why?
In this context I would have to say Donal Walsh. There are so many many unsung everyday heroes. I think Donal did not get the opportunity to fulfil his dreams, but I think his positive and vital message of hope has left a legacy for all of his peers – Live life to the full and embrace your potential!

Photos: Top; Students prepare for the murder mystery team building session.
Below; Students attend a Careers Fair at Ballina Beverages