Minister Launches Innovative Organisation Getting the Unemployed Back to Work

Friday, 9 September 2011

WIN bucks trends in assisting one third of participants reengage in workplace

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., today [Friday, 9 September] launched WIN – West of Ireland Networking (WIN); the training, mentoring and networking forum for unemployed professionals and entrepreneurs at the Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway.

WIN, based in the West, is a unique volunteer organisation that plays a substantial role in getting unemployed participants back into the work place while providing further supports to those seeking to start their own business or is already running a small enterprise.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Bruton said: “Jobs are at the very top of this government’s agenda, and I am determined to do everything possible to achieve the job-creation we so badly need. Government does not create jobs, people and businesses do, and the role of government is to support an environment in which job-creating entrepreneurs and businesses can flourish.

“WIN - West of Ireland Networking is an excellent example of what people and communities can do to help people get back to work and to help entrepreneurs start the successful businesses we so badly need. The get-up-and-go, self-help spirit embodied by this organisation is exactly what we need to help turn our fortunes around, and I am delighted to see it is alive and well. I am determined that government will keep its side of the bargain and do everything it can to get people back to work”.

With unemployment at 14.4%, WIN is bucking current trends, assisting one third of participants reengage in the workforce. WIN’s success is based on its innovative approach to helping the unemployed through consistent and regular supports including: bi-weekly group networking sessions including relevant and flexible training programmes; one to one mentoring, building confidence and self esteem of participants.

A recent survey sampling 106 participants of WIN indicated the impact of the organisation with 34% reengaging in the workplace; 14% actively interviewing; 28% working on potential business start-up; and 24% new participants.

CEO and Founder of WIN, Caroline McDonagh: “We at WIN are very excited about the contribution we have made to getting people back to work and supporting start up enterprises. WIN is a lean organisation working with minimum resources with a strong commitment to value and committed to addressing previously unmet needs. To date there has been a lack of support, training and services for the ‘unexpected unemployed’ or the ‘new unemployed’ in Ireland and WIN has successfully filled this gap. WIN recognises that if these skills are lost to Ireland, they could be gone forever. WIN is the necessary vehicle to ensure that these skills are retained and enhanced and used to drive and grow our economy.”

President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: “I am delighted to host the formal launch of WIN on our campus. The spirit of partnership, volunteerism and enterprise embodied by this unique, innovative volunteer organisation is exactly what Ireland needs more of at this time. We at NUI Galway are pleased to support WIN’s objectives of training, mentoring and networking for unemployed work seekers, entrepreneurs and small enterprise owners. Our support is an example of how the University partners with local organisations to ensure that we meet the legitimate demands of all the stakeholders in our region.”

WIN Board Members include: Seamus Bree, Director, Western Region, Enterprise Ireland; Breda Fox, CEO, Galway County and City Enterprise Board; P.J. O’Reilly, Regional Manager Technology Transfer and R&D, Enterprise Ireland; Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of School, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway; John Liddy, St Vincent De Paul; Caroline McDonagh, CEO, WIN – West of Ireland Networking; Majella Connelly, Financial Consultant, Hennelly Insurance; Gert O’Rourke, Owner, Gert O'Rourke Training and Development; and Ralph Smith, Managing Director, Do My Books.

WIN is assisted by the Maureen O’Connell Fund of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

ENDS

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