LEAP – Celebrating a Public and Private Sector Collaboration

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Leap Professional 1Denise Power, JAI; Jacqui Gaule, Waterford LEO; Pat O’Grady, Bluefin Technologies; Lisa McGowan Bluefin Technologies; John Halligan, T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation; Danielle Kennedy, Lloyds; Gemma Kennedy, Q1 Scientific; Helen Raftery, JAI; Helen Halpin, JAI; Eilis Fox, JAI

We were delighted to have the opportunity to recognise the successful collaboration of Waterford Local Enterprise Office (LEO), local businesses and JAI on the LEAP programme which ran during the 2016/2017 school year and also to launch our 2017/2018 LEAP initiative.

LEAP – standing for Local Enterprise Achievement Programme – aims to encourage early-stage entrepreneurship in primary school students, helping them acquire and practice entrepreneurial skills, including team working, presentation skills, creative thinking and business planning. 200 primary students from eight schools in Waterford participated in LEAP 2017 because of the joint efforts of the team at Waterford LEO and local business people who volunteered to deliver workshops and serve as mentors.

Leap Professional 2John Halligan, T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation speaking to Gemma Kennedy of Q1 ScientificTo report on the results achieved last year and to launch the 2017/18 initiative, John Halligan, T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation was welcomed by Richie Power, CEO of Waterford LEO, into their offices. Minister Halligan acknowledged the work done as a result of this public and private sector collaboration and was delighted to present certificates of appreciation to those who facilitated enterprise education workshops in local schools. The 2017 in-school volunteers were: Peter Grogan, Emagine; Padraig O’Scanaill, Fundrecs; Gemma Kennedy, Q1 Scientific; Danielle Kennedy, Lloyds; Mary O’Brien, Bausch & Lomb and Elaine Fennelly, Lisa McGowan & Pat O’Grady, Bluefin Technologies.

Each volunteer helped the students to complete ‘My First Business’ over a series of visits to the participating schools: Portlaw N.S., Killea B.N.S., Fenor N.S., Dunhill N.S., Scoil Lorcain B.N.S., St. Ursula’s Primary School, St. John of God N.S. and St. Declan’s B.N.S. To showcase all of their hard work, JAI staged a LEAP event in conjunction with the School of Business in Waterford Institute of Technology. Over the course of the 7th and 8th June all of the young business people enjoyed the chance to present their ideas to panels of additional local business people entitled FROGS (For Recognition of Greatness in Students).

Minister John Halligan T.D. said: “I am happy to acknowledge the wonderful work done by Junior Achievement Ireland and Waterford Local Enterprise Office through the LEAP initiative. It is important that we excite young people as to the value of gaining entrepreneurial skills, like team working. I’m also delighted to express my appreciation to the local business people in taking the time to serve as role models for these students and hopefully in complementing the work of our teachers, helping the next generation to sow the seeds of their future success. Congratulations to all involved.”

LEAP 1Students, teachers and mentors celebrate after the LEAP event in WITRichie Walsh, CEO of Waterford Leo, said that “small businesses are the backbone of the economy and developing entrepreneurship skills, which are also good life skills, at this early age enables us to nurture the next generation of doers and innovators. The participants learn how to be self-motivated, work in teams and be responsible for their own decisions. These are all skills that they will need later in life.”

Helen Raftery, CEO, JAI, concluded by saying: “We are delighted to partner with Waterford LEO on the LEAP Project and the results we have shared today highlight its positive impact on local students. For these students to have the opportunity to work with local business people to generate their own ideas and to get to present those ideas in a third level setting is a fabulous learning experience, which is highly valued by all of the teachers involved too. Thank you to Waterford LEO, our local business volunteers and WIT for inspiring and motivating local students.”

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