Waterford Chamber recently visited Saint Michel Mont Mecure and surrounding areas of the Pays de la Loire region in western France at the invitation of CFA Training Institute to take part in the fifth European Round Tables event, from November 18th- 20th.
Nick Donnelly, Waterford Chamber CEO; Laurent Borla, Waterford Chamber Director and Michelle McHugh, Enterprise Europe Network Manager, were joined by a number of local and national delegates including Ciaran Cullen, Waterford Local Enterprise Office; Eimhin Ni Chonchuir, West Waterford Festival of Food; Nichola Beresford, Muldoon Irish Whiskey Liquor; Arnaud Villarbu, L’Atmosphere Restaurant; Dermot Walsh, M & D Bakery; Mathias McGivney, WIT; Michelle Coghlan, Kilronan Castle; Naresh Kumar Baldawoo, Ballsbridge Hotel and Senator Lorraine Higgins, Seanad na hEireann.
The CFA Training Institute trains young people from the age of 15 in the business of catering (food, service, reception) and food (bakery, pastry, chocolate) and was the training ground of Waterford restaurant owner Arnaud Villarbu. A number of apprentices from the Saint Michel Mont Mecure Training Institute take part in work placements in Waterford and around Ireland as part of their overall apprenticeship. As hosts of the fifth European Round Table Event the institute invited delegates from 27 eligible countries to take place in proceedings where the spotlight was shone on four honoured countries - Ireland, Finland, Italy and Poland.
On the evening of November 18th, delegates attended a conference entitled ‘European Culinary Heritage: History and know-how to be shared and passed on for future sustainable development’. The conference was followed by presentations from the honoured counties. Nichola Beresford of ‘Muldoon Irish Whiskey Liquor’ made an excellent presentation on behalf of the Irish delegation which was received with great applause. To conclude the evening a buffet was prepared showcasing culinary delights from each honoured country. Arnaud Villarbu prepared a selection of Irish dishes including stews, black pudding, Blaas and cheese.
Day two began with a trip to Vendee Chamber of Commerce and Industry where Waterford Chamber were delighted to meet with the local Chamber team, discuss issues of shared interest and the possibility future cooperation. The team visiting Vendee Chamber were treated to a tour of the chambers facilities and given a presentation on the work of the Chamber, which has 22,000 members. On return from Vendee Chamber, the delegation once again visited the CFA Training Institute where there was an exhibition of local products, presentation of foods from many European countries, demonstrations, tastings and promotional workshops, which featured, partner schools, chefs, bakers, pâtissiers , chocolatiers, ice sculptors and many others. On the evening of November 19th the delegation attended a Gala Dinner where all parties signed the 2014-2018 ‘Co-operation and Exchange Charter’, and made a presentation and engaged with the Mayor of Saint Michel Mont Mecure. The dinner was created and served by the centres apprentices and the night was enjoyed by all.
On the final day of the trip the delegation travelled around the Montaigu area, visiting the two Michelin starred ‘Thierry Drapeau’ Hotel and Restaurant, whose proprietor is a former apprentice of the CFA Institute. A tour of the hotel and restaurant kitchen were given, where early morning preparations for a busy day ahead were underway. Finally the delegation visited Rochanvigne Vineyard, a local organic vineyard. The tour included a visit to see the areas where the vines were grown, the premises where production and bottling took place and finally a wine tasting demonstration.
Overall there was very positive feedback from the Waterford delegation and this culminated in an invitation to the CFA Institute to visit Waterford in 2015, which they have accepted. Waterford Chamber has already began work with Vendee Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcoming one of their members ICAM on December 12th and assisting them in meeting with local companies.
Good news for Waterford this week with the announcement by Wetherspoons that they have purchased a number of properties in Waterford City Centre, in Arundel Square and Broad Street for the purpose of opening a new pub in 2015.
The UK pub chain has plans to invest in other locations in Ireland and the news for Waterford is very positive in terms of bringing greater vibrancy to our city centre in the evening and night time economy.
The creation of new jobs is also a welcomed boost to the city, according to Chamber President Dr. Derek O’Byrne: “Wetherspoons have shown confidence in Waterford as a great place to socialise and do business. Their investment is a significant injection to the city, not just with the sale of the properties, but also from a jobs perspective.
“We have all been working hard to secure Purple Flag status for Waterford and the opening of Wetherspoons will add to the attractiveness of Waterford City Centre with a vibrant & appealing night life.”
Waterford Chamber Skillnet hosted its Dementia Healthcare Conference on 10th December 2014. The one-day event was hosted in the Waterford Institute of Technology.
The event which was kindly supported by Waterford Insitute of Technology and Havenwood Retirement Village was attended by over 80 participants working within the Healthcare sector and also by those who care for loved ones suffering from the condition. Speakers on the day were, Profressor Riona Mulcahy of University Hositpal Waterford, Margaret Croke, Behavioural Cognitive Therapist and Nurse; Prof Suzanne Cahill, St. James's Hospital, & Nessa Foley from Bowe O'Brien Solicitors.
There were also two workshops on the day, 'Nutrition – Ideas and Preparation for the Modified Diet' – Derek Gilsenan, Head Chef, HavenWood & Padraig Dolan and our second workshop 'Physiotherapy for the Older Person – Falls Risk' delivered by Rachael Keating & Davin Phelan from the HavenWood Physio Team. Opening address was delivered by Prof. John Wells, Head of School of Health Sciences and the sessions were chaired by Dr. Michael Bergin and Jenny Cunningham from WIT's School of Nursing & Health Sciences.
There are just 12 shopping days left until Christmas and Waterford is ready for what is undoubtedly the busiest shopping weekend of the season.
The buzz of Ireland’s biggest Christmas festival is certainly adding to the atmosphere this year and there are 32 Winterval events for all the family to enjoy this weekend, as you do your Christmas shopping.
Waterford Chamber has welcomed the announcement by Winterval that in addition to the normal parking facilities, there will also be free parking all weekend on the main access routes into the city, on the North Quays, at the WIT Campus with entrances on Bunker’s Hill and opposite Topaz on the Cork Road, as well as hundreds of free spaces at De La Salle College.
Nick Donnelly, CEO of Waterford Chamber emphasised, “Parking will not be an issue this weekend and we would encourage everyone to come into the city and enjoy the magical spirit of Christmas that is on offer. This is looking like a much better Christmas for many businesses and we really want everyone to enjoy what’s on offer in Waterford.”
Advanced plans for the formation of the newly established Tramore Chamber of Tourism & Commerce were outlined to members of Tramore’s business community on Thursday, 4th December 2014 at the Majestic Hotel.
Speaking to the attendees, Mary Daniels outlined the proposed structure of a new limited company, to include a Board of Directors, as well as sub committees working on issues such as Economic Development, Environmental Enhancement, Events, Marketing & Promotion, Community Development and Operations & Membership.
The new organisation will be in effect from January 2015 and an AGM will be scheduled immediately to form the board.
Nick Donnelly, CEO, Waterford Chamber, who is assisting Tramore Tourism on an advisory level emphasised that Tramore Chamber of Tourism & Commerce is being set up to offer one strong voice to represent the great work that is going on in Tramore. As per their mission statement, the new organisation will “promote and develop commerce, enterprise and tourism for the benefit of its membership, wider business interests and the local community.”
While Noel O’Neill went through a draft budget plan for the year ahead, Frankie King acknowledged the hard work that had already gone in to establishing the company and that it was a positive step forward for the business community in Tramore.
From being made redundant to employing over a thousand people in just three short years, Heather Reynolds, Founder and Director of Eishtec, spoke of her road to success at the Waterford Chamber Inspiring Women in Business Lunch, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, at the Athenaeum House Hotel.
In the three short years since its foundation, Eishtec has gone on offer an impressive volume of employment across Waterford and Wexford and contributes an estimated €23million to the local economy, through workforce spending. And while the company is an outsourced contact centre dealing primarily with the UK, employees are living, working and socialising in the South East and in turn making a significant investment in the region.
Heather has over 20 years industry experience in the services sector across a number of Blue Chip organisations including AOL Inc, Dell UK and TalkTalk Group where she held a number of senior roles including Customer Experience Director, General Manager and the role of Director of Operations.
Heather, who is very proud of her Waterford roots, was educated at the Ursuline Convent, to which she has recently returned to work on a Dragons' Den style workshop with the students and she also holds a Business Degree from WIT.
In 2013 Heather was one of six industry partners appointed to the Action Plan for Jobs based on her track record of job creation and developing a business. In addition, Heather was appointed to both the National Competiveness and Labour Market Councils of which she is actively involved. Earlier this year she was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Respond Housing Association and also became a Lead Entrepreneur as part of the Going for Growth initiative supporting women in business.
Heather was quick to point out to the capacity crowd at the festive lunch that working hard is what got her to where she is today and that while she had to make sacrifices along the way, the journey has certainly been worth it.
June Fardey, Business Manager at Bank of Ireland said was delighted to be among such inspiring women at the lunch and that is was encouraging to get such a positive vibe from women who were starting out on their business careers through to established business women.
“Bank of Ireland is hugely proud to be associated with an event like this and today has been absolutely fantastic. We are delighted that Heather shared her story with us and to see so many hard-working and inspiring women in business here in one venue shows the future is bright for business in Waterford.”