Chamber News

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Waterford Chamber and the Network of Irish chambers calls for clarity, certainty, and flexibility from the State and its agencies. As we work with Government to address this national crisis, we urge sincere engagement by state bodies to support businesses to stay afloat during these unprecedented times.

Chamber members are active in every major town and city in the country and the businesses which form our network are deeply embedded in their communities across the island. As the number of cases of Covid-19 has increased, our network has felt its impact in the local economies they represent.

Following dialogue with members, we call on the Government to take the following steps:

  •  Deferral of tax payment

VAT, PAYE and PRSI payments will be due to the Exchequer the week after next. It is essential that government allows a deferral of the payments that fall during the period of curtailment. Our membership has already felt the commercial hit of Covid-19, and many will struggle to keep their doors open in the coming weeks. Ensuring cash-flow will be critical to their ability to see this crisis through.

  • Prompt payment obligations

Our membership needs Government to ensure that all departments, local authorities, and public sector bodies adhere to their prompt payments obligations. If our members are to be able to maintain employment across the period of this economic shock, employers need state bodies to lead by example through ensuring that their bills are paid as early as possible.  

Speaking this afternoon (13th March) Waterford Chamber's Chief Executive, Gerald Hurley said, "Chambers are an intrinsic part of their communities around the country and many chambers and their members already know some of those who have been affected by the virus and are deeply saddened by the loss of life which has already occurred. And like everyone, our members are concerned for their future and the prospect that is before us.

Many small business and the self-employed have had their work cancelled for the foreseeable future, while retailers around the country have been feeling tighter trading conditions since last week, and the hospitality sector in some parts of the country are facing cancellation rates upward of 60-70%. In parts of the country where Covid-19 first took hold, businesses are already operating in dire trading conditions.

We welcome the Government’s directives today and agree with the necessity of these actions to limit people’s exposure. We stand ready to support the State in whatever future actions prove to be necessary. But we ask that the State works with us by providing certainty for business through the challenges ahead.

Government needs to develop a coordinated communications plan, working with existing networks and bodies such as the Local Enterprise Offices and INTREO to ensure that businesses have clarity about the supports that are available to them and their employees.

Most importantly, State bodies need to be sincere and flexible in their engagements with businesses."

Waterford Chamber has been shortlisted for four national Chambers Ireland awards, having won the Event of the Year Award last year for Toys4Engineers.

The awards seek to recognise the outstanding work of Chambers around the country. They are a chance for Chambers to showcase their achievements in a variety of categories, from innovative projects to successful events to collaborations with local and national government.

Under the Event of the Year Category, Waterford Chamber was selected for creating the Tramore Christmas Festival, while the Regional Leaders Programme was given the nod for the Most Innovative Project.

They were also shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year for Network Magazine, a quarterly in-house publication, while the amalgamation with Tramore Chamber of Tourism & Commerce was selected for Best Membership Initiative.

Speaking ahead of the final judging, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said it was testament to the hard work of the Chamber team and their collaborative partners that Waterford Chamber featured so strongly.

“Our team here in Chamber is small but dynamic – they are creative, hard-working and ultimately want to do what they can to support the business community. Both the Regional Leaders Programme and the Tramore Christmas Festival epitomise what collaboration can achieve, and we are very grateful to be working with important stakeholders such as Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Institute of Technology and Waterford Chamber Skillnet on the Regional Leaders Programme and Waterford Council and Every Event on the Tramore Christmas Festival, to bring these offerings to our members and the wider region.

“Network Magazine is a fantastic tool for us to promote our members, ourselves and of course Waterford as a great place to live, work, invest in and do business and we are particularly proud of it as an offering not just to members, but to the wider business community and international stakeholders.

“Our work in Tramore continues in earnest and we are proud to act as the link between the business community and the Local Authority. We adopted the new members last year and the feedback in terms of engagement and on the ground activity has been hugely encouraging, so to be recognised with this nomination is very important to us.”

The shortlist features projects from Chambers all over Ireland, including Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber, exemplifying the wide-ranging work being done around the country.

Awards will be presented for excellence in six different categories and one Chamber will be awarded the overall award of Chamber of the Year 2020.

IITD National Training Awards Logo

Waterford Chamber and Waterford Chamber Skillnet have both been shortlisted for IITD National Training Awards for their Regional Leaders Programme and Graduate Accelerator Programme respectively.

Waterford Chamber’s Regional Leaders Programme has been shortlisted in the category of “Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring”, while Waterford Chamber Skillnet’s Graduate Accelerator Programme will compete in the “Best Consultancy” category at the upcoming awards ceremony on April 24th at Killashee House Hotel.

Now in its twenty-second year, the IITD National Training Awards is recognised as the premier Learning & Development event for industry. The purpose of the IITD National Training Awards is to promote excellence, best practice and innovation in Training and Learning & Development, and to highlight the importance of this area in today’s business climate.

Speaking about the nomination, Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber said: “The Regional Leaders Programme, now in its third year, has surpassed all our expectations in terms of delivery and engagement. We now have over 40 mentors giving of their time to develop the future leaders of our region, and we have seen 200 participants pass through the programme. We are proud to say that we have created a culture of mentoring and support among the business community through the Regional Leaders Programme. It has highlighted the importance of succession planning, supporting our employees and the benefits of having an external confidante to engage with. This nomination is a testament to the hard work put into developing and sustaining the programme but also to our partners Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology for their support and guidance.”

The Waterford Chamber Skillnet “Graduate Accelerator” programme showcases the successful collaboration and partnership between Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch and Lomb and local industry including Sun Life Financial, Ernst & Young Waterford, Caratmundi, Sanofi, SE2, Jabil, Medite Smartply, and Dawn Meats in response to the learning needs of the emerging workforce in the South East. The programme is the perfect vehicle to develop and support a workforce of homegrown talent by offering practical training designed to ease new graduate recruits into their new working environment by giving them the skills necessary to become a valuable member of a larger corporate team.

Sara Mullally, Network Manager, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, said: “These awards are at the highest level in industry and we are delighted to be featured among the best in class. We take our remit as training providers extremely seriously and our core mission is to support employers in the region to grow and develop their staff to become strong professional, technical and subject matter experts in their chosen field. Waterford Chamber Skillnet is the largest Regional Network of the 70 Skillnet Ireland networks nationally, and in 2019 successfully facilitated 230 training events for 300 companies and 1,707 individuals. We are delighted to be nominated alongside Waterford Chamber and we will both certainly put our best foot forward for Waterford.”

Waterford 2040 Event Feb 2020Almost 50 leaders from Waterford’s industrial and commercial, government, educational and economic development agencies gathered for a Breakfast Briefing on Wednesday, 26th February 2020 to initiate a marketing and promotional campaign for Waterford. The initiative is as a result of collaboration between Waterford Chamber, Waterford Institute of Technology and Waterford City and County Council.

Over the past six months the agencies have created an economic baseline for the city and opportunity analysis out to 2040. This research will inform Waterford’s implementation plan to realise it’s critical role as a population centre and economic driver of growing importance and scale as outlined in the National Planning Framework ‘Project Ireland 2040’ and the National Development Plan 2018-2022.

Waterford Chamber CEO, Gerald Hurley said “For me today is about getting the message right and having an ambitious outlook for our city. Up until now, there has been conflicting economic baseline data for Waterford. This is the first time we have come together at a local level to obtain detailed and credible research and data that everyone can use to showcase Waterford as a City of Opportunity. The results of that research, combined with months of data gathering by RIKON and the information we collate here today, will give us an economic baseline for the city and present the ambitious growth opportunities that exist in Waterford. This can then be used by all of us as a tool to attract future investment and educate key influencers.”

Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council in opening the meeting said “The National Planning Framework and Development Plan policy document re-assert our critical role and we need to identify as a city and region of opportunity where our quality of life is unique. This morning’s meeting focussed on the identification of the vision for Waterford and a number of key collaborations which will set Waterford as a place apart”. 

Prof Willie Donnelly, President of Waterford Institute of Technology concluded the meeting by saying “Waterford Institute of Technology offers an attractive opportunity as an educational leader of international repute and is proud to partner with Waterford Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce to drive Waterford as the primary urban centre within the south east region.”

Waterford Chamber GE2020 Manifesto

In advance of General Election 2020, Waterford Chamber have outlined their priorities for Government on behalf of their members.

According to Gerald Hurley, Waterford Chamber CEO, “We are fully supportive of the Chambers Ireland Manifesto and its recommendations to Government therein. However, as a Regional Chamber, there are also a number of asks which must be considered and actioned if we are to develop our city in line with the ambitions identified in Project Ireland 2040.

“These are not new issues and as the voice of business for our members and the wider business community of Waterford, we are committed to keeping these items on the agenda until they are delivered. Whoever is going to represent us needs to ensure that these are priority issues for them at Government level. One of our recommendations is that Government appoint a new Minister for the Regions to safeguard our ambitions and those of the other regional cities. This has come about following discussions at the City Regions Ireland Forum where Chambers from the five cities have come together to lobby collectively to ensure the ambitions as laid out in Ireland Project 2040 are realised.”

Outlined below, in no particular order, are the key priorities for Waterford as the Capital of the South East Region on behalf of Waterford Chamber.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Appoint a Minister for the Regions to ensure that balanced regional development as outlined in Project Ireland 2040 is achieved, ensuring that government procurement procedures do not disproportionately favour of Dublin.

INFASTRUCTURE

Delivery of infrastructure projects already promised, including North Quays, to ensure a sustainable, balanced economy. The development is critical for the future of Waterford, in terms of attracting talent, executive accommodation and quality of life.

CONNECTIVITY

The route analysis for proposed M20 (Cork to Limerick should be extended to include alternative routes, including the upgrading of the existing N24 from Waterford to Limerick, connecting the M8 to Limerick at Cahir. Obvious savings that will be achieved should be spent on other transport infrastructural requirements.

TRADE & TOURISM

Delivery of Waterford Airport to maximise on international trade and the growing tourist market.

EDUCATION

Prioritise the upgrading of WIT to University status in order to retain and attract talent, to create and sustain high quality jobs, to provide for lifelong learning requirements of the workforce and attract FDI.

HEALTH

Specialist resources and investment in the provision of acute care including 24/7 cardiac care, A& E and maternity services in Waterford University Hospital, which are vital to ensure that it can cater for both an ageing population as well as current and future population growth within the city and its regional hinterland.

CHILDCARE

Increased and sustained investment in childcare services and early education infrastructure so that quality childcare is affordable and accessible to working parents.

Chamber Netwalk

It’s the new year and Waterford Chamber is launching a new get healthy and active six week programme, ‘Chamber Netwalk’, to encourage the business community to get out and walk, while also using the opportunity to network and above all raise awareness about cardiac care.

Starting on Wednesday, 22nd January, Waterford Chamber will be organising lunch-time net-walking, which will be led each week by a motivation leader! Pop along to William Vincent Wallace Plaza for 1pm and get active for just 30 minutes as we enjoy a walk around the city.

Sadly, we are all too aware about the shortcomings in our cardiac care facilities in Waterford, so this programme, according to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, is all about prevention rather than cure.

“We are all guilty of leading sedentary lives during the working week, so we want to motivate the business community to get out and just take 30 minutes each Wednesday to look after themselves. Our cardiac healthcare here is a major concern for everyone and we hope these walks will also help raise awareness of the situation.”

Leading the first walk is former Waterford Senior hurler and owner of Inspiring Excellence Shane O’Sullivan. As a motivational executive coach, Shane believes in embracing micro-changes for long term gain.

“Taking the first steps are always the hardest but by even committing to a 30 minute walk once a week can only have a positive effect. The new year always brings its own motivation but by joining a walking group with friends and colleagues will encourage you all the more. Each leader will choose their own route and who knows, we may even uncover some hidden gems throughout the city along the way.”

Chamber Netwalk

Please register for Chamber Netwalk below. If you would like to be added to our email list, you can sign up by providing your email address below.

RLP Lunch Gerry Cahill

It is hard to be positive when you get the news that your business is closing its operation. However, one company, Roche Ireland Ltd. in ClareCastle, Co Clare, have succeeded in turning the devasting news into a positive experience which is full of hope.

As part of the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, Managing Director of Roche Gerry Cahill addressed participants and mentors at their speaker lunch at WIT Arena with the theme “Exit with Pride & Ready for my Future”.

Introducing Gerry, Sara Mullally, Waterford Chamber Skillnet Network Manager, said: “As an authentic leader Gerry has led the Roche site for over six years, with the last three being the most challenging … and rewarding. It has involved a significant re-structuring, a large re-organsiation of the site, and a subsequent re-engagement of site personnel.”

Taking to the podium, Gerry outlined how Roche is a world leader in developing medicines for unmet medical needs but the Irish plant will officially cease operating in early 2020. When the announcement came three years ago, Gerry and the leadership team decided they wanted their colleagues to leave Roche with pride and a sense of opportunity. To do that Gerry said, “We needed to make time available to develop new skills”.

With a passion for life long learning, Gerry naturally brings a strong business acumen to his role as MD, but his principle focus and passion has been on supporting and developing people and is a firm believer that “a learning culture should result in better business results”.

This proved entirely true for the Roche workforce and through supporting the staff, offering training opportunities and developing their talent, in the three years since the closure announcement, they have had a record output, engagement has increased by 23%, safety and quality standards have increased, more than 50% of staff have green, black or master black belt, over 95% have LEAN training and 80% have moved roles.

Gerry also touched on bringing fun into the workplace by saying “Employee wellbeing is to the core to our programme”, with frequent team building days and community events. In fact, they completed 5,000 hours of wellbeing in the workplace in 2019.

Above all, Gerry said they have encouraged staff to have the confidence to look outside their current role and move forward with pride. He said this couldn’t have been done without the financial support of Roche and also Skillnet Ireland.

Concluding, he said: “I am delighted to share our journey and Leadership learnings with the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme and participants. Waterford Chamber is a great example of promoting learning and leadership development across many different sectors highlighting that we can learn from each other even if we are doing different work.”

Thanking Gerry, Sara finished the event by informing guests that Waterford Chamber Skillnet funding for training has almost doubled in six years due to demand from members.

“This budget will be to support growth for local industry through training and development of employees and the employability of jobseekers at the transferrable skills level. This should be seen as a significant investment in the region and it shows the commitment member companies have in the development of their personnel in Waterford and the surrounding region.”

The Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme is supported by Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch + Lomb and WIT. The next speaker event will be on April 29th with Edwin Rohan, Head of European and Latin America, Customer Success Acceleration at Google.

For more on the Regional Leaders programme please see www.waterfordchamber.ie or for training needs go to www.waterfordskillnet.ie

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Building a brighter future was the resounding message at the Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner on Friday night last in the Tower Hotel.

Two of Waterford’s most successful sons, Irish Ambassador of the US Dan Mulhall and John Treacy, CEO Sport Ireland, took to the podium in front of business leaders at the black tie event which was sponsored by Manguard Plus.

“I am delighted to be in Waterford for this year’s Chamber dinner. These annual gatherings represent an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Waterford’s business community and to look at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead”, said Ambassador Mulhall.

“As Ambassador to the United States, I am optimistic about opportunities that exist for our companies to expand their footprint in the US market and about our capacity to continue to attract significant, high-quality investment from the United States.  This will require a concerted effort on the part of our business community, supported by Government and our State Agencies with which I work very closely in promoting Ireland in the USA.”

Opening the event, Mayor of the City & County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt said: “We are all here because we have all chosen to invest in Waterford.  We are building a vibrant and sustainable place, strongly leading the South East. We in Waterford are positioned to lead in terms of business development, economic growth and educational excellence. We have set an optimistic and ambitious vision for the future of Waterford. Our city and county welcomes all opportunities as we build a city where businesses can grow and develop and communities flourish.”

Reiterating the message, Waterford Chamber President Jonathan Earl said: “While Waterford Chamber is the voice of business, we all have a voice and a responsibility for what we say. We absolutely should and we are asking for equity, for something better.

“The Chamber has found its voice, one of many voices representing the diversity within Waterford, most speaking a consistent and confident message. But positivity is not enough, we need the kind of confidence that others are jealous of, that inspires others to choose Waterford.”

Taking to the podium, Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy said: “I love my county”. He went on to regale the audience with tales of his sporting glory, while also saying the Olympics “are looking good for Ireland”.

Concluding his address, John Treacy told the business community to “be ambitious, reach for the stars because Waterford is a fabulous city and a fabulous county.”

The Annual Dinner was sponsored by Manguard Plus and the drinks reception was sponsored by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances.

 

North Quays

Waterford Chamber welcomes the confirmation that Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland will lodge the application for Planning Permission to Waterford City & County Council for the North Quays development by the end of November.

Commenting on the announcement, Gerald Hurley, Waterford Chamber CEO, said: “There has been a lot of speculation and uncertainty around the North Quays in recent months, so following this announcement, it is encouraging that this can now be put to bed and we can move forward.

“We have always believed the North Quays development will be the catalyst for growth, particularly in terms of delivering on Project Ireland 2040. This is a €350 million investment which will create 2,300 full time roles with an additional 4,500 indirect jobs. It will cement Waterford’s position as Capital of the South East and the driver of economic growth and we are hopeful that there will be no further delays in the planning process, so we start date of quarter four of 2020 can be guaranteed.”

 

What We Do For Our Members

 

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What Our Members Say

"Both Waterford Chamber and Bausch + Lomb understand the importance of leadership for the achievement of business success. Working with Waterford Chamber on the Regional Leaders Programme demonstrates just how effective it can be to come together and work collaboratively. The Regional Leaders Programme provides an opportunity to share our talents and expertise with the motivation to really ‘make things happen’."

Jackie Roche, Learning + Organisational Development Manager, Bausch + Lomb

 

 

 

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