Will Donnelly, Foróige Youth Entrepreneurship Trainer wins international award

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Foróige May 12, 2014

Will Donnelly from St. Mary’s Secondary School in Glasnevin has won the Certified Entrepreneurship Trainer International Competition 2014. He has been teaching the Foróige Youth Entrepreneurship programme since 2010 and in this time he has brought approximately 150 students through to graduation. Will has enthusiastically brought the real business world into his classroom by arranging visits to local businesses, bringing in guest speakers to talk about how to survive in the business world, attended numerous trade fares and enabled his students to set up post office accounts for their businesses. Many of his students come from disadvantaged areas. Will won an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC, attended a Gala Dinner and an entrepreneurship teachers retreat. There are over 90 Certified Entrepreneurship Trainers in Ireland currently.

Will says of his win:

The Global Enterprising Educator Awards, presented by MasterCard, honoured the top 24 teachers from NFTE’s programs around the world. It was a wonderful honour to represent the programme on a global stage and one which I will remember for a very long time. A special thanks to the students, my fellow business teachers and management in St. Mary's for allowing myself deliver the programme for the past number of years and to Ms. Keelin O'Donnell of NFTE Ireland for all her help and assistance. Throughout my time in Washington DC I managed to share resources and experience with other teachers from around the globe and hopefully I can bring some of these techniques back to the classroom in St. Mary's.

It is great to win such an award and receive such recognition for the work I do with the students. The programme itself lends so much to the development of the students in our school. I hope to be able to share my NFTE experience with teachers from across the globe and to learn from the other CET's so that I can make my NFTE class a more engaged entrepreneurial experience for my students. 

Teaching NFTE in St. Mary's is a great experience. NFTE allows me to teach and engage with my students in a different manner that I do not get to do in Business and Accounting class. Having studied a Masters in Financial Entrepreneurship and coming from a family business, entrepreneurship is in my make-up. It is this passion for the subject that I try to pass onto my NFTE students. It is a privilege to be part of NFTE in St. Mary's as only 30 students in Transition year get to study the programme each year. The programme is in great demand among the student body. The students develop and grow throughout the programme. It is great to see students who have never had a chance to express their entrepreneurial spirit before grow and find a love for an area and a subject which they might have never considered before. They develop skills in marketing, teamwork, sales and many more areas.

For me as their teacher it is a nice change from the structured course which I teach on a daily basis. I have tried to develop the programme as much as I can this year by getting the girls to study a female entrepreneur in Ireland and to present their findings to the group. They have also had two talks from female entrepreneurs. I felt that this has been of great benefit to the students, as not only can they see how these ladies' businesses have grown and developed, but they see how much information they have collected and how far they are on the way to making this a viable business outside the school in a real life scenario.

The single best part of teaching NFTE for me is the students, to see the passion they have for their new business and the drive they have to make it a success. The programme itself is of great benefit to the girls in St. Mary's and it plays a major role in their transition year programme. I feel that training young people in entrepreneurship in helping them develop as young business men and women. The NFTE programme helps young students to taste entrepreneurship for the first time, it gives them a chance to express themselves outside the classroom and allows them to develop skills in a business environment.

 To find out more about Foróige's Youth Entrepreneurship programme, visit www.foroige.ie/youthentrepreneurship