DLDC Training and Employment Progression Day offers inspiration and information to participants

      She has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Done 100 parachute jumps. Changed careers in mid-life. Gotten a motor-biking license at the age of 53.
All of these different achievements, however, involved taking the same four steps, Life Coach Kathy O’Connor said as a speaker at a “Training and Employment Progression Day” run by Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) last week.
“If I didn’t follow through with the steps, I would never have managed to do any of these things,” Kathy told 200 participants who attended the event, many of them Tús Scheme participants or recipients of support through DLDCs Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP).
Step One, Kathy said, is identifying a goal. Step Two is sharing it with someone who won’t respond negatively to it. Step Three is writing the goal down, which raises the likelihood of achieving it to 80 per cent. And Step Four is taking action toward the goal without fear of failure.
“If you’ve tried to do something and it didn’t work out, that’s still success because you tried,” she said. “Embrace the good with the bad and look for the learning in each experience and every situation.”
Kathy was one of several inspirational speakers at the event, which took place at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar. Others included Patsy McGonagle, the Irish Athletics team manager who played a key role in the construction of the Finn Valley Centre, and Derek Walker, who started his award-winning Simply Natural Health company while receiving support from DLDC on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) Scheme.
“If you’re nine months unemployed and have a business idea, it’s really worth your while coming to talk to us about the BTWEA Scheme,” Louise Brogan of DLDC told participants. “We’ll meet you one to one, take you through the application process for the scheme, and help you with a business plan and cash flow projections. You can have a business set up in four to six weeks.”

The day also featured information stands provided by 15 employment, training, and support organisations which participants were encouraged to visit as a step in their transition off of the Tús Scheme and SICAP.
“With all these organisations here to support you, just like DLDC wants to support you, the challenge now is to approach them and learn what they have to offer,” DLDC CEO Padraic Fingleton told participants. “It’s not easy, but trust me…they want to support you. They have information to give out and they’re not tying you to anything.”
Organisations with stands at the event included the Department of Social Protection, DLDC’s Job Club, Donegal ETB, the Irish Defence Forces, the National Learning Network, The Open University, the Regional Employment Service, Safetec, Teagasc, the Volunteer Centre, and more.
“I studied law in college but the sedentary aspect of it never appealed to me,” Lieutenant Kevin Kenny said at the Irish Defence Force’s stand. “Then I came across a Defence Forces recruiter at a table much like this, which has led to going places and doing things I never would have if I hadn’t joined.”
At the Teagasc stand, Education Officer Joseph Dunphy explained the accredited agricultural course that’s available through the organisation. “Participants receive both instruction and practical experience in the running of a farm, including how to use computer software for agricultural businesses and how to register with the Department of Agriculture for online services,” he said.
Training and Employment Progression Day participants made good use of their chance to visit the stands, lining up to speak with organisation representatives and taking information about employment and training opportunities along with them.
“For us the day was excellent,” said Tús Scheme Supervisor Gerry Grant of DLDC. “We had great attendance and organisations here who were interested in helping people gain employment and training. We were very impressed with the way participants engaged with all of the different groups here. That’s what the day is about.”