Spreading Good News: Chapter One
With so many challenges facing our communities, it’s nice to hear a bit of good news every once in a while! Here at Clare Local Development Company, it’s our job to have a positive impact in vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Recently we’ve been thinking more and more that we should share some of the stories that highlight this positive impact. We think it’s important to let people know that things can, in fact, change for the better, and that there are people and organisations out there who are working really hard to make that happen. It’s not always glamorous (in fact, it usually isn’t,) and it’s almost always small steps that make the difference. But we are proud of what we do, and the ways that we work to empower our local communities.
One way that CLDC empowers and supports people is through capacity-building and employment. This means that we help people to get the information they need, and often learn the skills needed, to get themselves a job. When someone can get themselves a job, their life changes in a big way.
We also work with local employers, agencies and training organisations, and connect them with job-seekers. This means that not only do job-seekers have opportunities, but the businesses in need of help can get the support, training, and new talent they are looking for as well. Through all of these efforts, we end up with more empowered and resourced individuals, more diverse and successful local businesses, and a stronger community network.
This is really important in rural places like West Clare, where people live quite far from each other, economic conditions can be challenging, and there aren’t many hubs for gathering, learning, working, or exchanging resources. A lot of the suffering isn’t visible at all, and it continues generation after generation. So if we can provide opportunities for empowerment, it can have a really positive impact. And as we know in Ireland, word travels fast. So let’s try to spread some good news, shall we?
Last Wednesday, March 1, Clare Local Development Company put on an event that was designed to bring the local community out, and do all that good stuff mentioned above. We called it the West Clare Jobs Fair. The Clare County Council was nice enough to provide us with a wonderful space to host it, at the DigiClare Digital Hub in Kilrush.
“The West Clare Jobs fair was a great success,” said Hilary Gleeson, one of the organisers and a wonderful staff member here at CLDC. “We had nearly 200 attendees and 26 stands with employers, recruitment agencies, virtual stands and agencies such as ourselves (Clare Local Development Company,) Limerick Clare Education and Training Board, Department of Social protection, Employability Clare, Grow Remote and Clare County Council.
Local employers such as Saint Gobain Manufacturing, Kilrush Credit Union, Clare Fire & Rescue, FRS Network, Ireland Home Care, ESB Moneypoint and Trump International Hotel were among the stands, as well as Espresso Bar and Kilrush Aqua Park looking for employees.
Many brought their CVs along to give to employers and chat about the roles available in many types of businesses, from hospitality to engineering and healthcare, with many including training as part of the job.”
“It’s a brilliant event,” said Colette and Liam from the FRS Network. “It’s really great, the people coming through are great. And the Ukrainians have so much to offer us. It’s really good to be here.”
Although there was a strong Ukrainian turnout, along with refugees from other countries, a large percentage of the attendees were local Irish. “It’s great meeting so many people; it’s really good to come down here,” reflected one employer. This was a common sentiment; Aine from the Kilrush Credit Union commented, “It’s great to be out meeting people. It’s brilliant, and it’s great to have this happening in West Clare. It’s important to showcase everyone that’s here, and also everything that’s available.” The crew at Clare Fire and Rescue reported, “A great buzz, really good interactions. Lots of people coming and going, it’s brilliant.” The Espresso Bar crew added, “It was a really good event. From an organisational perspective, really well run, really effective. Really good turn out, really wonderful people coming through.”
Hilary added, “We were very fortunate to have Microsoft attend with Patrick Cusack who showed the vast array of jobs available with his company, and further than that he showed attendees how to set up a CV online with a LinkedIN profile, encouraging jobseekers to link with their networks to find work.” Patrick said he was “very happy with the footfall” at the event. “The biggest challenge is about connecting people to a network,” he said. “So many [of the people in need of work] have so many incredible skill sets; but they are lacking the network to know who to talk to about what kind of job. I’m trying to help people learn how to put their skillset out there.”
We had Killian from Local Link helping people to understand the options for public transport to and from potential work locations. “It’s about people knowing that if they get a job, they’ll be able to get there,” he said. We also had representatives from GrowRemote and CloudAssist sharing information about the logistics, benefits and possibilities of remote working. There were translators and interpreters on site to assist with language barriers. We did everything we could to make sure that people could get the information they needed, and to make opportunities accessible.
Sean MacNamara, a colleague at CLDC, commented, “Nearly 200 jobseekers attended; some will have left and will now go into employment, and more will have left with a sense of hope that employment is accessible. Many have been given a starting point on a roadmap to employment.”
Commenting on the overall impact and success of the event, Sean added, “Social Inclusion and community development is always about trying to connect people and develop positive relationships, and this Jobs Fair succeeded in doing just that.”
We want to thank everyone who showed up to take part, and to commend the courage it takes to put yourself out there!
All in all, it was a fantastic turnout, meeting a lot of community needs, and empowering local residents of West Clare to take the next steps towards employment, capacity-building, connection and empowerment. It was a good day.
Stay tuned for more good news!