Catriona Kennedy

Catriona Kennedy

Sr. Manager, Regional & Corporate Communications

May 08, 2024

West Teams Up with Junior Achievement Ireland to Pave the Path for Tomorrow’s Leaders

The West Waterford team partnered with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) as their capstone charity of choice in 2023. This partnership gives West the opportunity to give back to communities in the South-East region of Ireland through providing a combination of funding support and volunteers.

West Waterford team members volunteering in local schools to deliver hands-on learning experiences

JAI is a member of one of the world’s largest educational non-profits, helping prepare young people for their futures by delivering hands-on, experiential learning. Reaching more than 12 million young people each year, JAI is one of few organisations with the scale, experience, and passion to build a brighter future for the next generation.

Lorna Cotterell, Senior HR Business Partner commented, “When we embarked on partnering with Junior Achievement Ireland as one of our capstone charities, our main objective was to be involved in an initiative that actively makes a difference with young people and communities, whilst also having a positive impact on employee engagement. Junior Achievement Ireland ticks all the boxes, we have seen firsthand how team members involved have experienced personal growth in their own development and skills through delivering a programme, which is transferable in their everyday role. We are delighted with the levels of engagement with the initiative for our first year of partnership, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with JAI and supporting our team members on their continuous growth journey.”

Junior Achievement Ireland's role in empowering young people through practical life skill programs.

The JAI programme utilizes the experience of those already in the workforce to help young people of all ages to fully understand the important role that education will play in shaping their futures. In 2023, 11 West team members in Waterford volunteered to participate in the programme across five schools, reaching 330 students. Each volunteer acts as a role model from the working world – they are trained, vetted, equipped, and supported to deliver hands-on learning experiences in primary and secondary schools. There is a selection of courses for the volunteers to choose from within the categories of Entrepreneurship, Employability, Financial Literacy and STEM that are aimed at encouraging young people to stay in school and help them realise their potential to empower a generation to learn, to work and to live.

Positive impact on employee engagement and personal growth through involvement in community initiatives.

Denise Power, Area Manager – South East for JAI, commented: “We are delighted and grateful to partner with West on the roll out of Junior Achievement Initiatives in primary and secondary schools across the South East region. Thanks to the great involvement of employees from West, students get the opportunity to meet mentors from the world of work who can share their own real-life experiences while delivering practical life skill programmes. This broadens their horizons, showing students what is possible and reinforcing that they are capable of anything in their future and enables us to extend our reach to more students and offer opportunities to local schools.”

West Waterford Partners with Junior Achievement Ireland in 2023

Catríona Kennedy, Sr. Manager, Regional and Corporate Communications added: “Becoming a volunteer with Junior Achievement Ireland was a such a positive experience. I delivered the “It’s my Business” programme to a group of 3rd and 4th class students at my local primary school. The course was really engaging and students learned all about entrepreneurship and the necessary steps to start a business. The training and materials I received from JAI were very comprehensive and I felt comfortable delivering the programme. Brendan Fitzpatrick, Sr. Director Operations, Waterford joined our final session and the students had the opportunity to present their business plans to him. They did a great job and Brendan was a very generous investor! Getting the opportunity to work with these young people was hugely rewarding and I’m already looking forward to taking part again this year.”

Congratulations to all involved in this great initiative. Click here for more information on JAI.

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