4th March 2016

Jobseekers from North Dublin gain 'Skills for Work' at Coca-Cola HBC Ireland

Raheny's Sarah Dempsey shares her experience with 'Feeding Ireland's Future'

As part of ECR's 'Feeding Ireland's Future' initiative, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland once again hosted 40 jobseekers from across North Dublin for 'Skills for Work Week 2016'.

Now in its third year, 'Feeding Ireland's Future' is an initiative which brings Irish companies in the retail, food and beverage industries together to offer pre-employment skills and training to young unemployed people between the ages of 18 – 24.

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, the leading beverage company that manufactures and markets some of Ireland's biggest drinks brands such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Deep RiverRock, hosted jobseekers throughout 'Skills for Work Week', which ran from 29th February – 4th March.

2016 saw the Ballycoolin-based beverage company's involvement for a second year and over the course of the week, unemployed young people from Finglas, Blanchardstown, Santry, Artane, Donaghmede and Raheny availed of the opportunity to develop practical skills required to secure employment, or return to work.

During the week, employees at Coca-Cola HBC shared their knowledge and experience with the programme participants to help them to develop skills needed for a career in the food and drink industry or other sectors. Sessions throughout the week included workshops on CV writing and interview preparation, how to leverage online tools such as LinkedIn, insights into recruiter selection methods, and communication and presentation skills training.

Orla Heffernan, HR Business Partner said, "As Ireland's leading non-alcoholic beverage company with roots in Ballycoolin, we were delighted to participate in 'Feeding Ireland's Future' for a 2nd year, supporting jobseekers from communities across North Dublin.

"We were really pleased to see such engagement in this initiative from our employees at Coca-Cola HBC who were eager and willing to impart their experience and advice. Feedback from the programme participants has indicated that it was a valuable worthwhile week for all involved.”

One of the programme participants was Sarah Dempsey from Raheny, an award-winning film maker whose documentary on same sex couples, entitled 'Hand in Hand', won best film at an Irish film festival and is shortlisted for a Boston LGBT film festival award next month. Sarah has struggled to secure employment since graduating from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in video and film. She participated in the 'Feeding Ireland's Future' initiative to improve her CV and interview skills.

She found the CV session the most worthwhile; "I know I have a lot to offer employers but my main challenge was being able to vocalise my skills in a manner that would impress recruiters.

"I spent some time going through my CV with Tara O'Rourke, Head of Coca-Cola Hellenic Brand Marketing, and she gave me great advice. I had focused on highlighting that I am 'motivated' and 'reliable' when in fact, I should be leading with my 'creativity' skills and achievements which is what sets me apart from the other candidates. I now have the most important information on my CV and I'm not selling myself short anymore.

"The week really helped to motivate and inspire me and I left Coca-Cola with a lot of hunger to go out and really apply myself. I would highly recommend this programme to any jobseeker.”

Overall almost 1,000 young people availed of the opportunity to gain the skills they need to get back to work in 43 locations across Ireland during Skills for Work Week 2016. The Feeding Ireland's Future initiative, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, is promoted by ECR Ireland, with the support of its members, in partnership with the Department of Social Protection, through its Intreo service.