This piece was originally published in the Independent.ie/New Ross Standard, 16th April 2016.
BY AMY LEWIS
A group of 30 Wexford students proved that they have the answers when they took part in the UCD Innovation Academy Disruption Event in The National Opera House.
The students, who are undertaking the Springboard-funded Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, staged five presentations of solutions to organisations they were asked to solve problems for. In the spirit of innovation and thinking outside of the box, they came up with creative ideas for host companies JFK Trust, Trudie’s Kitchen, Done Deal, The Wexford Opera House and Scurri.
Representatives from each of the companies attended the event, along with Mayor of Wexford Cllr Ger Carthy. All were very impressed with the way that the students handled the real life problems and the manageable solutions that they provided for them.
This was the first time that the UCD Innovation Academy facilitated the 18 week course in Wexford. According to Teaching Facilitator for UCD Alison Coleman, it has been very well-received in the county so far.
‘The aim behind it is to encourage the students to engage with local entrepreneurs, as well as advise them on setting up their own business,’ she explained. ‘We have a wide mix of people including those who have been made redundant, those who are looking to retrain, people who are changing careers and others who are relocating back to. We had everyone on the course from bank managers to artists to engineers. All of them are looking to get back into employment.’
Owing to the success of the first Wexford course, Alison said that it is likely that another will be held in the county. However, it is unlikely to take place until next year.
‘There is one starting in Waterford at the end of April that anyone can apply for,’ she said. ‘During our last course in Waterford, 30 per cent of the students were actually commuting from Wexford.’
The course is open to all jobseekers who currently hold a degree or relevant work experience. It has already proven to be a great success nationwide, with 800 graduates and a 75 per cent employment rate post course.