Mar 13

Digital Marketing Institute to create 30 jobs

IAN DODSON GRAD NIGHT SPEAKING 3-O09_CROP_1 WEB_WEBThe Digital Marketing Institute is to create 30 new jobs this year, the education company said today.

The company will add 10 new people to its staff with the opening of a new London office, and will hire a further 20 people over the course of the year.

The new positions encompass roles across content management, membership, event management, sales, finance and administration.

The company employs 15 people in its Dublin offices with a total of 39 new roles being created in both Dublin and the new offices in London by mid-2014.

Chief executive Ian Dodson said the company had worked hard over recent years to create “the best digital training programmes”.

“The 2013 recruitment drive is a consequence of this success and we are very positive for the future.”

Towards the ends of 2012 the company secured a number of key international partnership deals, worth €8 million, with education providers in India, South Africa and Malaysia.

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Apr 12

Irish long tradition of valuing education attracts students from far corners of Europe

Ireland is known for its high quality education that dates back to nearly 1,500 years when Europe had fallen into the dark ages. However, Irish monasteries preserved the West’s inheritance of civilization and attracted students from far corners of Europe to study at its centers of learning.

This tradition continued through the centuries as Irish teachers traveled to the farthest and poorest corners of the world. In modern times, education and research have played a vital role in transforming Irish society, making it the most globalized nation on earth (according to the 2011 Ernst and Young annual survey), the world’s second largest software exporter and a base for the world’s leading pharmaceutical, science, ICT and financial services companies.

US President Barack Obama has called the Irish system world class and has called Irish-educated graduates among the best in the world.

Eight Irish higher institutions of learning are ranked in the top 5 percent of institutions globally. Ireland’s technological institutes are known as industry-focused and responsive to enterprise needs. Specialist institutions in the medical field also have global reputations. Ireland is also a leader in the development of national and European qualifications frameworks and has a highly regarded, government-backed quality assurance agency, which recognizes some Irish private colleges.

Moreover, it is the No. 1 country in the European Union in terms of participation in higher education. IMD, one of the world’s leading business schools, rates Ireland as first in the world for the availability of skilled labor and as one of top countries whose education system meets the needs of a competitive economy. Employers in particular value the skills of Irish-educated graduates with Ireland finishing 1st out of 28 European countries in terms of enterprise perception of graduate quality (ECOFIN, 2009).

Ireland’s high quality of education is bolstered by satisfied and grateful students.

Following one’s dream

Sarah Nagadi dreams of becoming a doctor after receiving a government scholarship at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) which has a good medical reputation. In Dublin, she did an EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course for three months. One thing, which made her comfortable in Ireland was the Irish attitude.

“I have been to many countries but I have never seen people as friendly and as kind as the Irish. I think that I had made the right decision to come to Ireland,” she said.

From Dublin, she moved southwestward. This is because RCSI’s medical course includes a foundation year called the Medical Commencement Program (MCP) which takes place at the Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT) in County Kerry. One of the annual events at ITT is the International Day where each country has its own stand. “It was one of the best days I have had in Tralee. People and students from other countries learned much about Saudi culture, food, traditional dance and music. We prepared for it with love and enthusiasm…I got to know more about other countries like Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Germany, Italy, Spain,” she said. She is excited to make the most of her last semester in Tralee. She wants to visit the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Banna Beach and other places before May. “I’d like to take pictures of this experience so when I look back insha’Allah five or six years from now, I will remember the great time I had and the kind people I met in Tralee.”

She has also become involved in some societies and clubs and wants to experience new things like rock climbing and hill walking. “I am looking forward to starting my studies at the RCSI, but I know I will always look back fondly on my time in Tralee,” she said.

Climbing the ladder of success

Raja Al Dandan, a Saudi from the Eastern Province, also wanted to take up medicine and decided that the best medical school is the RCSI. She got a guaranteed acceptance from RCSI. However, she had to attend the Institute of Technology in Tralee (ITT) where she fared well due to her strong high school international background. “The subjects at ITT are taught well by professional teachers and lecturers. The classes have both international and Irish students. Such an environment enhances my English and introduced me to various cultures,” she said. She’s hoping that by the year’s end she’ll be able to pass all the science and language subjects with honors so “I can be a few steps away from achieving my dream, of becoming an RCSI doctor.”

Lessons on art, beauty and life

Michael Buble is another youngster who went to Ireland to take up medicine. But once there, he thought he’ll not only study medicine. He’ll also drink in the beauty of nature and taught lessons in life. He admits having some bad habits, such as lack of punctuality or acquiring books without reading them. Attempting to be a bookworm, he decided to finish a 62-page book by the time he reached Tralee. His accommodation in Tralee was arranged by one Nora while he was on the train. When he reached his accommodation, he was disappointed when he saw the old white brisk fence with the little red wooden door in the middle. He thought he was on the suburb of the town and that he would be living on a farm. He was guided upstairs by Nora who opened the door of his room. Seeing it, he expressed surprise. He loved it and interrupted Nora who was still explaining, “I like it. It is great!” Nora asked, “Are you sure? Take your time and do not be embarrassed to say ‘no’.” He said: “Everything was perfect about it and it was my piece of heaven compared to the one where I stayed in Britain so I replied ‘I am sure, thank you’.”

He spent the night rearranging and adding touches to the room. The second day, he went out exploring alone with neither a map nor sense of direction and he discovered how gorgeous Ireland was. “I realized why I came to Ireland. I am in love with art and beauty of nature surrounding me. Birds are flying high, sun in the skies, and breeze drifting by,” he said, adding: “It is time to do some soul searching and therefore as I explore Ireland I will also explore myself and get to know myself better. I can feel redemption calling and I can see the edge of my new beginning. It’s a new life for me and I am feeling good!”

Attaining a childhood dream

Another youngster who dreams to become a doctor and offered a place at the RCSI was spellbound by the beauty of Ireland and also impressed with Irish friendliness and hospitality. He said, “I booked my flight from the UK. The first interaction with Irish people was on the airplane. I immediately noticed how friendly they are. The Irish families are closely-knit, which was overwhelming as it reminded me of my own country.” He says that he has no regrets in his decision to study in Ireland, hopes to go to RCSI and graduate by the end of 2018.

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Apr 12

Racing deal with China to bring in €40m

Livestock at the Coolmore Stud

IRELAND IS set to play a key role in efforts to develop China’s horse racing industry after it announced a €40 million export tie-in with the country’s first national equine facility, based in Tianjin.

The Tianjin Equine Culture City will be the first of its kind in China and the €1.5 billion project will open in phases from next year.

It will generate €40 million for Ireland over the next three years.

The news was announced by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who is leading Ireland’s largest agriculture and food trade mission to China this week, the latest in a series of high-profile visits to the key Chinese market.

“This initiative should facilitate the development of a major export market for horses from Ireland and has the potential to provide a range of business opportunities for companies and individuals in Ireland who can bring a wide range of expertise to the project,” said Mr Coveney.

The deal marks the first Chinese government involvement with an overseas joint venture in horse racing and breeding.

The element of state involvement is significant because backing horse racing in China can be a bit of gamble in itself.

Betting is a major taboo in mainland China – chairman Mao Zedong’s communists banned all forms of gambling after the revolution in 1949. Hong Kong is the only venue on Chinese soil where betting on horses is legal and authorities are unlikely to legalise gambling on the mainland anytime soon.

There have been various projects aimed at taking advantage of the horse racing market in China in the event of the rules changing, but many have failed or been downsized drastically.

At the same time, there has been some restricted horse racing in China in recent years. Rather than gambling, punters can earn shopping vouchers or lottery tickets in raffles held between races.

Bai Zhisheng of the state-owned Tianjin State Farm Agribusiness Group said the tie-in helped ensure the group’s project was firmly established.

“We would like to accelerate the progress of the development . . . to get it completed, and with high-level partners this will help us achieve it,” said Mr Bai.

The racing venture and racecourse will require 600 to 800 horses for its inaugural year, which is targeted to have approximately 40 race days.

While Ireland has no agreement regarding the export of horses, a delegation statement said discussions were ongoing about sourcing of this bloodstock with Ireland enjoying favoured status.

The new facility in Tianjin, a city of 12 million, will feature 4,000 horse stalls, a horse clinic, 150 trainers’ offices, five training tracks, and two international standard racetracks.

It will also host a grandstand, a club house, an international equestrian college and a horse auction house on a 3.3 million square metre site.

The breeding programme will involve an agreement to import over 100 mares in the next three years.

The project will also involve the acquisition of stallions.

The link will include Ireland hosting seven of China’s top agriculture graduates, who will spend two months at Coolmore Stud learning the industry.

“The sector plays a huge part in the Irish economy, currently generating €1.1 billion annually. This industry is something we are good at, and today one of the biggest markets in the world has recognised that and has chosen to partner with Ireland,” said racing tycoon JP Magnier, speaking on behalf of Coolmore.

The trade delegation includes 51 companies and 127 individuals active in China. These are drawn from the meat, dairy, seafood, beverage, bloodstock and agri-services sectors.

The mission, which runs until Sunday, will also include Irish universities involved in the provision of educational courses in food safety and agriculture science.

The visit follows the high-profile visit of vice-president Xi Jinping to Ireland in February, during which he visited a farm in Clare.

Irish food and drink exports to Asia are estimated at €370 million for 2011, up 40 per cent on the previous year.

The main components of trade are dairy ingredients, including infant formula, pigmeat, fish and alcoholic beverages.

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Mar 12

New initiative launched to support budding food entrepreneurs

Food entrepreneurs and those who feel they could create and run a successful export-orientated food business will be interested in ‘Food Works’, a new comprehensive training and development programme launched today.

Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc have combined resources to design an in-depth process aimed at finding and fostering global food entrepreneurs. Successful participants will be given a range of practical business supports required to develop an initial concept into a winning food product with international appeal. The available supports will include consumer market research, business plan development, technical advice, commercial viability testing in addition to access to incubation units, research and development (R&D) facilities and possible investors.

Speaking at the launch today the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said: “Food Works is a unique opportunity for ambitious and determined new food entrepreneurs to build great food businesses. The Food Harvest 2020 report highlighted entrepreneurship as essential to building a truly successful indigenous food industry and the importance of developing and nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship. Our target of growing food exports by 50pc to reach €12 bn before 2020 is ambitious; it requires huge commitment by private and public interests.  Food Works is an example of development agencies working together in a new way to improve the climate and opportunities for growth and I look forward to it fostering new food businesses with high potential for development.”

Ideal candidates

Food Works is open to all determined and energetic individuals with an interest in building an international food business in Ireland. The programme is designed for new food entrepreneurs who have ambitious scalable, ideas or export plans.  Candidates may apply on an individual basis, as part of a team or a company if it has been in existence for less than two years.

Five stages

The first stage of Food Works is centered around three open call information evenings taking place in Tayto Park, Ashbourne, Co Meath on Monday, 26 March; Sheraton Hotel, Athlone on Wednesday, 28 and UCC (Western Gateway Building), Cork on Thursday, 29 March. At these sessions, attendees will gain a better understanding of the programme and how to get involved; meet with representatives from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc and hear from inspirational Irish food entrepreneurs such as Ray Coyle, Largo Foods (Tayto), Mary Ann O’Brien, Lily O’Briens chocolates and Michael Carey, Chairman, Bord Bia and The Company of Food.

In April, additional interactive workshops and information evenings will be held where Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc will share their insight and expertise on how to review export markets, examine consumer trends and provide technical advice. Interested parties will then be asked to submit a detailed online application before Monday, 14 May.

In June, a panel with representatives from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc and experienced food entrepreneurs will conduct one-to-one interviews to select 30 successful applicants who will receive one to one mentoring; consumer insight consultancy; R&D assistance and a €5,000 feasibility grant. All concepts and ideas will be stress-tested with consumers in Ireland and key overseas markets. Following this process, 15 participants will move forward to the final stage to develop an investor ready business plan.

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Feb 12

WebElevate to reskill 140 job seekers

WebElevate to reskill 140 job seekers

The Digital Skills Academy has announced a second WebElevate programme through the Higher Education Authority’s Springboard initiative, aiming to reskill 140 job seekers for the tech sector.

WebElevate is an honours-degree level programme at the Digital Hub, with Dublin Institute of Technology as its awarding body. It aims to plug the digital skills gap while helping job seekers find work by training them in in-demand skills. It is free as part of the HEA’s Springboard initiative.

Students can reskill in areas such as digital media application development, web and interface graphic design, digital media production management, online marketing and sales, digital media copy writing and web video production.

The scheme will partner with 20 Irish and multinational companies – such as BT Ireland, Digiweb, Filmbase, Oracle Ireland, and Telefonica Ireland – to develop a range of products, such as mobile and web applications. The companies will offer direct employment opportunities for many of the programme participants.

“We are delighted to be in a position to offer a second WebElevate programme, almost doubling the places on offer for participants,” said Paul Dunne, CEO of Digital Skills Academy.

“It also means we can increase our intake of industry partners and thus increase the number of employment opportunities for our participants.

“WebElevate has attracted high-calibre companies, with interesting and innovative projects being developed through the programme. It’s a huge opportunity for the participants to be involved in the development process of so many cutting-edge projects,” he said.

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Jan 12

Seminar to support business ideas