35 job seekers become job creators thanks to DIT's Enterprise Development Programme

More than 20 new businesses created by enterprising DIT graduates

11th July 2011

Good news on the jobs front this week as 20 new businesses are announced thanks to 35 recent graduates of DIT’s Enterprise Development Programme. These DIT graduates are part of a new generation of entrepreneurs creating their own path in a dismal job market.

DIT’s Enterprise Development Programme is an 18 week course for jobseekers' but these participants were jobseekers with a difference in that they used the programme to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and create their own job. So while record-numbers struggle to find jobs, this small group has graduated from ‘job seeker’ to job creator’ thanks to DIT’s Enterprise Development Programme.

Take for example Dougal Hazel. A Dublin native, Dougal Hazel was made redundant last year after 28 years of working as a Goldsmith for a leading manufacturer. He enrolled on the DIT Enterprise Development Programme last October and has now successfully launched www.oghamzone.com where he offers high quality craft and designer products from Ireland to markets across the world. Speaking at his graduation earlier this week he said “Thanks to DIT's Enterprise Development Programme I now have the skills and the confidence to sell my own range of handcrafted Irish Jewellery online. I have a global market and I am already getting orders from the US, Canada and the UK. “

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Job seeker turned job creator Dougal Hazel graduating from DIT’s Enterprise Development Programme 2011

Although an experienced fashion designer with her own label and a 1st class honours degree in design, Mia O’Connell has in recent times found it hard to find work in her field. Not one to rest on her laurels last February Mia enrolled on DIT's Enterprise Development Programme. Now, thanks to the additional skills Mia acquired on DIT’s Enterprise Development Programme, Mia has just launched Dublin Fashion Club - a summer camp where children of ages 7-12 can explore, learn and have fun with fashion. The first camp took place in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 and more locations are set to come on stream shortly.

Charlaine Browne from Cootehill, Co. Cavan found the Enterprise Development Programme invaluable in particular the modules on social media, marketing and raising finance. Charlaine, along with her husband Paul Urwin recently opened DeBrúnDesign, an affordable Architectural practice based in Dublin city centre. With over 40 years experience in architecture between them, Charlaine and Paul both lost their jobs last year. According to Charlaine “When we studied Architecture we didn’t learn how to run a business. This course has helped me to set up our own business and to market our service and I am really enjoying being busy again.’

Cairin O'Connor, Manager of DIT's Enterprise Development Programme said: “While economic cycles are a reality of life, there is always room for innovation and entrepreneurship. Indeed, good entrepreneurs can always find opportunity, even in adversity. This Programme and the success of its graduates show that bycreating and promoting an atmosphere of entrepreneurship, we can help the country bounce back from the current economic downturn and perception of hopelessness”.

DIT established its Enterprise Development Programme under the Government’s labour activation scheme as a deliberate effort to equip today’s job seeker with alternative skills that would enable them to move away from reliance on the job market and instead to create their own opportunities and there by become the job creators of tomorrow.

This year the Government’s labour market activation scheme has been re-branded ‘Springboard’ and under this initiative DIT is able to offer 1000 people who are currently unemployed the opportunity to reskill, retrain and to rebuild their career for free. DIT is offering free places on a wide range of part-time undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development courses in exciting areas of the economy where growth is anticipated like Multi Media & Gaming; Food Product Development; Energy Management; Medical Device Innovation; Computing; IPhone Applications Development and Biopharmaceuticals. Details of the programmes available in DIT through Springboard can be found on www.dit.ie or see www.bluebrick.ie

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