11 April 2016

Eoin McGrath, former Waterford GAA Senior Hurler and founder of Mean Bean Coffee Co., with the help of Lynda Lawton, Waterford Chamber and Kathleen Doran, Innovation Academy UCD, showed their support in launching an exciting and innovative programme that will assist job seekers in Waterford. The free programme which has been developed and run by the Innovation Academy UCD, is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Springboard+ Initiative. It will offer an innovative approach to third level education - which to date has resulted in 72% of all graduates going into regular employment or establishing their own business.

The programme is internationally recognised and nurtures creativity and increases the participant’s capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship; skills that are highly sought after by employers in all sectors presently. It brings together participants in groups who work on projects that stimulate creativity, problem solving and create positive environments for experiential learning. Participants also have an opportunity to connect with employers through innovation projects with industry and guest speakers.

Beginning Thursday 28th April, this course will run for 18 weeks, 2 days a week from 9am-5pm. Participants who successfully complete the course will gain a qualification from University College Dublin along with a highly transferable skill set with the skills to gain employment or to start their own business or social venture. The course applies a ‘learn by doing’ teaching method with no exams and attracts a diverse mix of people who either wish to start their own business, embark on a new career or rejoin an existing career path.

Speaking about the benefits of the course, Kathleen Doran, Wexford course facilitator and project manager  said “People who may have been out of the workforce for a while can sometimes arrive with shattered confidence, but through the process of the programme, they all leave with a 'can-do' attitude. You might not have a business idea when you start, and that's ok, because the course is so hands-on it gives you the tools to help you unearth creative ideas, and ways of solving problems you couldn't have imagined you had before you started. It's about people working together to inspire each other, and test out business or fresh career ideas. If it fails that's ok too, you just come up with a new idea or a new approach. If you want help kick starting a business, a new career direction, your life...then this is definitely the course for you!”

The Waterford course is facilitated by a team of academics and entrepreneurs such as Alison Coleman, from Dunmore East and Fergal Brophy, from Dublin. Alison is an entrepreneurial specialist with a background in security and fraud investigation with leading entertainment company Sky. Fergal Brophy is also an entrepreneurial specialist, with a background in brand management where he worked with well known consumer brands Pepsi, Nivea Skincare and Kellogg’s. A lecturer and entrepreneur in his own right, Fergal is a co-founder of ‘Open Financial Services’, a Worksite Marketing company that provides financial advice to employees of Ireland’s leading multi-nationals such as Apple, Dell and Pfizer.

Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director of the Innovation Academy said: “We are so delighted to be bringing the programme to Waterford, nurturing entrepreneurship and getting more people back into the workforce as we use our learnings in innovation and developing people’s creativity for business and education into communities around the country.  Our whole focus is to encourage creative thinking and increase people’s capacity for innovation within their careers or with their business ideas and we see first hand new businesses shooting up following these programmes and more people re-joining the workforce with renewed confidence and energy.”

The GAA through a partnership with the Innovation Academy UCD, are also lending their support to the course to reach communities around the country. The course is also championed by entrepreneurial leaders from the GAA in each province including Pat McDonagh, founder of Supermacs, Pat McDonagh, founder of Riverdeep, Brian McEniff, Director, McEniff Hotels and Frank Murphy, CEO, Monex.

For further information on the course and to register your interest please visit www.innovators.ie