One giant LEAP into enterprise for Waterford National Schools

Eight national schools from Waterford City and County recently took part in the Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) LEAP programme, in conjunction with Local Enterprise Office Waterford.

The programme saw 4th and 5th class students from Gael Scoil Philib Barún, Butlerstown NS, ChristChurch NS, Waterpark NS, St. Stephen’s De La Salle, St. Paul’s NS, Faithlegg NS and Abbeyside NS embarking on an early stage entrepreneurship journey that lasted several months and culminated in them pitching their business ideas at WIT’s School of Business.

The LEAP programme was developed by JAI and Local Enterprise Office Waterford in 2014 and has harnessed strong partnerships between leading organisations and schools.  Designed to encourage ‘early-stage entrepreneurship’ with national school students, this year’s programme saw the students mentored by local business volunteers.

Volunteers Laura Caulfield (Manor St. John), Peter Barry (Waterford Credit Union), Danielle Kennedy (Lloyds Hair), Claire Coppinger (Bluefin), Christine Rossiter (Dawn Meats), Helen Payne (ORAFOL), Laura McGibney (Coaching4U) and Regina Mangan (Liberty Blue) delivered a series of activity-based enterprise education workshops in the eight schools to help the students develop their business ideas.

The two-day event was opened by Minister John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, “Initiatives such as the LEAP Project are essential for fostering entrepreneurial attitudes and skills in the Waterford area, which will help to ensure Ireland continues to be one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world.”

“We must support young people to acquire the skills and confidence they need so that they can face any challenge and shape their careers in the future world of work. I commend Junior Achievement and Waterford Local Enterprise Office for such a wonderful initiative.”

The students pitched their business ideas to local businesspeople, who were FROGS for a day (For Recognition of Greatness in Students).  All students were awarded a Certificate of Achievement to recognise their participation and one team in each school was given a special plaque to mark their outstanding contribution to LEAP.

Jacqui Gaule of LEO Waterford said “This is our fourth year supporting the LEAP initiative and the levels of enthusiasm, dedication and entrepreneurship displayed by the students is so refreshing. For LEO Waterford, an agency tasked with encouraging, nurturing and supporting entrepreneurship, it is great to see the seeds of enterprise been sown at such an early age and as part of primary schools’ curricular activities.”

“We are delighted to work with Junior Achievement Ireland on this wonderful project, as it continues to foster the spirit of enterprise to Waterford’s young students.”

Denise Power, JAI Area Manager, South East said: “We are delighted to partner with LEO Waterford and local businesses on the LEAP project. It is a fantastic journey for students to learn the basics of entrepreneurship and develop their own business ideas with the support of entrepreneurs from the local community.”

“These mentors have shared their own real-life experiences with the students and inspired and motivated them to become future entrepreneurs in the making. The students’ visit to WIT was a wonderful opportunity for them to pitch their ideas to business professionals for the first time outside the classroom and see how products could enter the market and impact their local community.”

LEAP 2019

 

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