Waterford News

Lafcadio Japanese GardensOnline festival will allow people to explore biodiversity from home or within 5km radius via online guided walks and activities developed by guides for all

16-24 May marks the 16th year of the Bealtaine Living Earth biodiversity festival. Coordinated by Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s STEM engagement centre, the festival brings groups from across the south east of Ireland together to celebrate biodiversity and our Living Earth and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

This year’s festival will be a little different explains Calmast Manager Dr Cordula Weiss. “With the current restrictions in place, the festival will be bringing these events directly into your home, through online guided walks and activities for all the family, allowing you to see and appreciate the biodiversity at these wonderful sites but also explaining how to explore the biodiversity on your doorstep.”

Featuring a curated online tour of the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens through four seasons, a guided wellness walk in JFK arboretum, rock pooling videos by the Sea gardener Marie Power, self-directed workshops and guides of the Copper Coast, activities exploring the biodiversity in your garden- there is something for everyone at the festival.

"For the past 15 years, the festival has hosted expert guides bringing the people of the south east on guided walks and talks to the beautiful settings like Mount Congreve, the Waterford Greenway and along the Copper Coast, and the JFK Arboretum. In addition to events in these wonderful locations the festival has always promoted the idea of biodiversity all around us, in our own neighbourhoods and our doorstep. Now in this time of lockdown, there has never been a better time to hear and see extraordinary things in ordinary places - bird song, flowers, trees etc," she says.

The full festival listing and details of online events will be added to www.livingearth.ie.

"The festival includes activities to celebrate many international days for example, there will be an interactive quiz on Instagram to celebrate the UN International day for Biological Diversity on 22 May. We are also celebrating World Bee Day on 20 May, with activities based on the wonderful world of bees, exploring why we need to protect bees, and their ecosystems as they are key to conserving biodiversity - a cornerstone of the UN Sustainable Development goals," adds Dr Weiss.

Each day of the festival will feature a different venue with guided walks, and videos, self-directed guides for people to do in their 5km radius while maintaining social distancing, and activities for all the family to do. The festival plans to have a group of experts on hand to answer the public’s questions on plants, trees and other aspects of biodiversity. Details and schedules will be added to www.livingearth.ie and https://www.facebook.com/bealtainebiodiversity.

The website has plenty of resources and activities for all the family to do in your back garden to explore biodiversity. There are many guides available on the website to use to explore the biodiversity in your garden and local area many supplied by the National parks and Wildlife services. These include making a butterfly feeder, ideas on how to have a biodiversity scavenger hunt in your garden and much more.

County Wexford is well represented in the Bealtaine Living Earth Biodiversity festival, with a guided wellness walk in the JFK Arboretum led by Horticulturist Mary O’Neill Maloney OPW, JFK Arboretum.

JFK guides Gerry O’Neill and Leona Tuck with their instructional guide will show people how to make a beautiful colourful madela using natural materials from your garden.

Celebrate the UN International day for Biological diversity May 22nd with a Biodiversity quiz on Instagram developed by Leona Tuck of the JFK Arboretum. 

Tipperary Council Library services have kindly provided the Bealtaine Living Earth Biodiversity festival with many guides on how to explore the Biodiversity on your doorstep and in your garden, including guides on how to make a willow hut and how to make a Bug Hotel. Why not celebrate International Bee day (20 May) with activities developed by Tipperary Council.

Bealtaine is the Irish word for the month of May and it comes from the ancient Celtic festival of Bealtaine when our ancient ancestors celebrated the revival of growth after the hardships of winter. The festival symbolises hope, and looking to the future, something that is so important during these times. The festival allows everyone to explore the wonders of nature, and promotes connecting with nature for mindfulness and wellbeing, something that is more important than ever during this Covid-19 pandemic.

www.livingearth.ie and https://www.facebook.com/bealtainebiodiversity

Waterford Business Supports Hub

As part of the ongoing collaboration between Waterford City and County Council, Waterford Chamber, Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber, Waterford Business Group, Waterford Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland, a new web resource has been launched so as to bring all the current and emerging supports for Waterford businesses onto a single digital platform during this Covid-19 crisis.

The whole idea behind the Waterford Business Supports Hub is that Waterford businesses, seeking guidance, will need to access just one primary local resource. This resource, in turn, will have summaries of the main national supports as well as appropriate links and signposting when required.

The very clear message associated with this collaboration is articulated by the Council’s Director of Services for Economic Development, Michael Quinn when he says: “It is only through a real commitment to working together that we can ensure that Waterford’s business interests are best served during this crisis and, more particularly, in its aftermath.”

Chamber CEOs, Gerald Hurley (Waterford) and Jenny Beresford (Dungarvan & West Waterford) agreed stating that they would be urging their members to not alone exploit the new resource but to influence its further development. In a joint statement, they said: “ The Chambers value this partnership and project, having a local online Business Hub eliminates unnecessary time wasting and encourages a stronger connection with other stakeholders. Collaboration is paramount at this time to ensure a cross county recovery.”

Likewise Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise with LEO Waterford: “This platform has been devised so as to ensure that Waterford businesses have the very best of access to clear, concise information and guidance.  Please use it.” Says Michael Garland, head of the Waterford Business Group: “Information is key to our joint recovery and having one website where all the information is available for business will put us ahead of the game”.

So, there is indeed an overriding message emerging which will drive Waterford’s business recovery in the months ahead and it is this – “Together Waterford Is Stronger”. In the meantime, if you’re in business in Waterford, please check out the new Waterford Business Support Hub at http://waterfordcouncil.ie/businesssupportshub

WIT Neil Quinlan Helen MurphyWaterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is launching a new initiative aimed at supporting businesses across the South East during Covid-19.

This initiative is open to individuals (employed and unemployed) currently working in enterprises across the South East or those seeking work in the region.

This WIT Enterprise Support Initiative is a short-term measure: a suite of short online programmes and support services to industry to address immediate needs. WIT Enterprise Support Initiative includes short online programmes in payroll management, finance and governance, digital marketing and managing stress and building resilience during these difficult times.

“Enterprises across the South East are experiencing huge challenges as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses are under significant strategic, financial and operational pressures to review, re-assess and re-position in light of temporary business closures. This initiative is targeted at local companies who may wish to migrate some key business processes online,” says Dr Helen Murphy, Head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning in WIT.

The online programmes have been developed by staff in the WIT Schools of Business, Health Sciences, and Education and Lifelong Learning. The deadline for applications is Thursday, 14 May 2020 with courses set to start the following week.

The WIT Enterprise Support Initiative will launch in May 2020 and run through until September 2020. Participation on these short programmes is free of charge and places will be offered on a first come first served basis. Individuals can apply and eligibility will be checked by the WIT team. To book a place on any of the above programmes please visit www.wit.ie/parttime

WIT will offer a full range of part-time programmes in September 2020. Many of these programmes will be fully or part subsidized under the Springboard+ initiative. Full details of all part-time programmes will be published in June 2020 with start dates from September 2020. See: https://www.wit.ie/schools/education/parttime-courses

Dr Thomas O'Toole, Head of School (Dean) of Business adds “Whilst our societal challenge is to stay safe and well, businesses and individuals working in them will need much agility and innovative ability to get back on track to recovery post-pandemic. This is why, in addition to all our ongoing programmes directed towards enterprise we have decided to reach out with some additional offerings.”  

Additional supports include business consulting services through the RIKON innovation centre and Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers through ArcLabs, the institute’s research and innovation hub.

RIKON is an approved supplier for the Enterprise Ireland/IDA & LEO funded Business Continuity Supports for Enterprises as a direct response to Covid-19.

Details on Four Free Online Courses Starting May 18th

Digital Marketing and Social Media (6 week on-line programme – 10 credits at level 6): This course provides learners with the detailed and practical knowledge required to develop digital marketing and social media expertise including Digital Marketing Planning, Strategy and Tools; Social Media Strategy, Planning and Tools; Digital Marketing Analytics. This course may assist companies seeking new modes of promotion using virtual tools.

Payroll and Computerised Accounts (6 week on-line programme – 10 credits at level 6): This course focuses on migrating existing payroll systems to an on-line environment. The Payroll aspect of the course will cover Setting up Payroll, Processing Payroll and Report generating. The Financial Accounting aspect of the course will cover Purchase Ledger, Sales Ledger, Nominal Ledger, Banking, VAT and Reporting. This course may assist companies seeking to migrate existing paper-based systems to payroll services on-line.

Certificate in Management of Work-Related Stress (12 week on-line programmme - 20 credits at level 6): The course consists of two ten credit modules. Module 1 aims to equip workers with the requisite skills, knowledge and competences to manage their personal levels of work-related stress, while Module 2 aims to help workers create a less stressful working environment. Assessment for the course is based on the completion of a series of activities that are work-based and submitted in the form of a digital portfolio. The course is also delivered entirely asynchronously, which means that the learners can access the course content at a time and place that suits them and submit their completed portfolio activities at the end of each module. This course may assist employees and managers in managing stress both at individual and organisational level during these challenging times.

Financial Management and Governance for Social Enterprises (6 week online programme 5 credits at level 7): This online course aims to provide people working in the social enterprise sector with an understanding of the principles, processes, and practices of effective financial management in a social enterprise. It will also give participants an introduction to the parameters of modern governance of social enterprises in order to meet the expectations of major stakeholders. It may be of assistance to any social enterprise currently managing funding and other financial challenges during this period.

To book a place on any of the above programmes please visit www.wit.ie/parttime

LEO Joe KellyWhile the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a wave of extraordinary challenges and uncertainty to Irish businesses, Local Enterprise Office Waterford is providing a wide range of business services to SMEs. Free HR, digital and finance advisory clinics are available to any local business, regardless of its scale or sector, which needs assistance in accessing support.

Joe Kelly, Financial Enterprise Consultant brings decades of financial experience to his role as mentor with Local Enterprise Office Waterford. From a career in banking, to Enterprise Officer with Waterford Area Partnership, Joe has worked with SMEs, charities and large organisations in helping them achieve long-term viability.

However, in these unprecedented times Joe has been working extensively with clients on a virtual and confidential basis to help them address the financial challenges of Covid-19.

“This pandemic has brought a whole new set of challenges to businesses on a scale never experienced before. The reverberations of Covid-19 have been felt in every industry and every sector.”

“For many businesses, the sudden loss of revenue and cash flow with little or no warning has put thousands of businesses under huge financial strain. For those who have had to lay off staff, reduce working hours or top up salaries with reduced or no revenue has put them in a financial quandary.”

However, Joe advises that there are ways in which companies can mitigate the financial impact and that starts with putting a plan in place.

“Most businesses will need to reach out to their suppliers, lending institutions and creditors, so make sure your financial information is as up to date as possible.”

Firstly, create a business plan for the next six to twelve months along with sales projections. Identify gaps in cash flow and be ruthless with overheads. This may mean getting in touch with suppliers to stretch credit terms or negotiating rent and terms with landlords. Some banking institutions are amenable to loan and mortgage moratoria so get in touch with your bank.

This can, of course, be daunting for any business, particularly as it is against a backdrop of not knowing if, and when business will ever return to normal. However, there are supports available and Joe advises reaching out to the many organisations that offer support and advice. “Get in touch with your Local Enterprise Office, local Chamber of Commerce, SBCI, The Office of the Revenue Commissioners or the Department of Social Protection.”

Going forward, companies will need to look at how to innovate the business model given that social distancing may be here to stay.

Joe adds, “It is not possible to predict the future for business but for the foreseeable future we must accept the old normal is gone. However, business has always had its challenges and if we stand together these present difficulties will be overcome.”

If your business has been affected by Covid-19 and you need financial advice call the LEO Waterford office and a dedicated specialist will get back to you to discuss your business issue. This is a confidential service and is open to all businesses. LEO Waterford will also endeavour to signpost you towards further Government and State agency business supports.

Businesses can also avail of the Business Continuity Voucher, which is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.

To book your free virtual consultation, via Skype or phone, call 0761 102905 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a dedicated mentor will get in touch with you.

For further information about any of the above measures visit https://sbci.gov.ie/ or https://www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/

WIT Arena 2WIT Novus in conjunction with the WIT Arena is hosting a Virtual Charity Run on Saturday, 2 May 2020 at 10am in aid of Pieta.

They are inviting people to run, walk or jog and then donate to the event’s Everyday Hero’s Page for Pieta - https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/wit-arena-virtual-charity-run

All participants are asked to stay within their 2km radius and maintain social distancing of 2m throughout the event which has been endorsed by Pieta.

CEO of WIT Novus Mike Geoghegan said that his team are delighted to get behind this event. “It’s a great opportunity to virtually bring people together at this challenging time and we want to encourage people to utilise their 2km radius from their house to get out and get active. The event also allows us to support Pieta and the phenomenal work it does both in the South East and throughout Ireland.”

WIT Arena manager, John Windle spoke about the benefits of participation. “Exercise and feeling supported has amazing benefits on our health and wellbeing. In these stressful and uncertain times let’s come together virtually and support each other as well as a very worthy cause. We would encourage everyone to get involved in the event and to run, walk or jog with us on Saturday, 2 May at 10am.”

If people would like to log their activities on the day in order to reach a collective target just download the Strava App and join the WIT Arena Team. To join the club just follow this link: https://www.strava.com/clubs/63366

Pieta provides free therapy to those engaging in self-harm, with suicidal ideation, or bereaved by suicide. It relies on the generosity of the public whose donations and fundraising make up over 80% of their income.  Its south east offices are based in Waterford and are carrying out vital services at this challenging time.

  • WIT Derek OByrne CAO bookletFriday, 1 May marks the final date for late applications to the CAO and WIT is one of the institutions that accepts applications from mature students up to this date.
  • On Tuesday, 5 May, after the May bank holiday weekend, the CAO change of mind facility opens for applicants to amend their order of preference

With two important CAO dates around the corner Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has come to the assistance of parents nationwide with a manual to guide them through their children’s college choices.

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr Derek O’Byrne was instrumental in developing both College choices – the parents’ manual and How to research your CAO options for CAO applicants.

The 12-page manuals have worksheets to help people figure out what they want to do and how to compare courses and colleges. Both are available to browse or download online at www.wit.ie/how.

Dr O’Byrne praises the move to virtual and online resources by prospective students, and parents alike. “There was a huge volume of traffic on each of our recent virtual open days. People have questions to ask and we are here to answer them, to help navigate these difficult choices.”

He explains why the institute has produced a series of guides for CAO applicants and parents:

“In our experience students who have done their research are likely to be more contented with the college place offer they receive. This year in particular is stressful for anyone considering college whether it’s this year’s Leaving Cert year or adult learners forced to re-consider their career path,” he says.

Each manual explains the college options available and the steps involved in research. It includes worksheets to help figure out finances, and actions for researching each course the applicant is interested in. The parents’ guide also includes a form for both parent and prospective student to fill out to explain what their thoughts and feelings are.

“We hope the advice and questions in our booklets will prompt honest conversations which will lead to the right course choices, and students who are happy with the college offer they receive. Well researched and informed choices will lead to a better college experience and better college outcome. This year’s college applicants need that more than any other cohort,” Dr O’Byrne adds.

His advice is that parents and prospective students do thorough research as early as they can, so they are ready to put courses in their genuine order of preference once the change of mind facility opens on 5 May 2020.

The final date for late applications for anybody who has not yet applied to college is 1 May, 2020. Some courses are restricted for late applicants. And WIT is one of the colleges that allows applications from mature students up to 1 May.

People can browse or download a PDF of the advice booklets at www.wit.ie/how.

Other online resources people can avail of include:

  1. Ask a question via web chat at wit.ie. These are answered weekdays, 9-5.
  2. Virtual campus tours at wit.ie
  3. Browse the questions and answers from WIT’s week of virtual open days 20-24 April 2020 at wit.ie
  4. The student stories section at wit.ie/studentstories has more than 500 real-life student stories from across over 100 undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  5. Visit the ‘Stories’ section on each course page (wit.ie/courses) to find out what life is like as a student of that course.
  6. There are more than 150 social media accounts to follow at witie/socialmediadirectory.

With the possible relaxing of the lockdown from Covid 19 and the need for social distancing in the short term at least, companies will need extra space to continue their businesses.

We at Waterford L.E.D.C. have a sports hall in Ballybeg, Waterford, that could be used as temporary home for a contact centre or any service industry requiring a space large enough to facilitate the ongoing running of their business. The building is within the city bounds, easily accessible from the ring roads and based within the campus of Brill Family Resource Centre.

We are all in this situation together going forward and you could be part of our solution and help our Social Enterprise as we can be part of your future too.

We are all in this situation together and going forward we as a Social Enterprise could be a part of your solution as you could be a part of ours.

If you find the need for such a space please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Shop Ireland Logodmg media Ireland, publisher of some of Ireland’s most popular media brands, is today (Monday 27th April 2020) announcing a €1 million advertising fund for small businesses hit by the fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through this support fund, 200 small businesses will be given a tailored advertising package worth €5,000 each.  The ads will run across dmg media Ireland’s titles including the Irish Daily Mail, the Irish Mail on Sunday, Extra.ie, EVOKE, RollerCoaster.ie and MailOnline and will reach a minimum of 500,000 people.

dmg media’s “Shop Ireland” is the largest support package from the private sector aimed specifically at small businesses since the Covid-19 restrictions began. The free advertising campaigns will encourage people across the nation to support their local small businesses - those that are still operating and those who are hoping to open safely once restrictions are eased.

CEO of dmg media Ireland, Paul Henderson said: “This is a very challenging time for most businesses and we at dmg media Ireland are supporting small businesses, who are the backbone of the economy in this country.  This free advertising campaign will showcase local small businesses in national newspapers as well as across our very popular digital platforms which reach 3.3 million people every month.”

The fund will be open to small businesses on a first come, first served basis, subject to certain criteria.

dmg media’s “Shop Ireland” is also being supported by Ibec’s Small Firms Association (SFA), which represents small and family run businesses with less than 50 employees. The SFA assisted dmg media Ireland with deciding on the criteria for the fund and which firms would benefit the most.

Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director SFA said: “As well as being open to businesses that are still operating during the lock-down period, we are also keen that other businesses, such as health and beauty, small hospitality, retailers and gyms, would be able to avail of this “Shop Ireland” support. These are the companies that are hurting most right now but when they can open again, they will have this advertising boost across dmg media Ireland platforms.” 

CEO of Ibec, Danny McCoy said: “IBEC fully supports this great initiative.” 

Small businesses who wish to apply for the dmg media “Shop Ireland” advertising fund can do so via www.dmgmedia.ie/shopireland. Successful firms will be contacted by dmg media Ireland to customise their ads and decide on geo-targeting if it is beneficial. Each ad campaign is expected to reach at least 500,000 Irish adults via dmg media Ireland’s newspapers and digital platforms.

WIT Research annual report 2018 2019Research funding at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) increased by more than 50% in one year according to the newly launched annual report for 2018/2019 from the Office of Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies released this week.

Research funding jumped from €13.6m in the previous year to €21.6m.

As the 2019/2020 academic year draws to a close, Dr Mark White, Vice President of Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies and the research support team in WIT are reflecting on the success of the previous year with the release of their annual report.

The institute welcomed a strong end to 2019 with the news that they are the best performing Institute of Technology in Ireland in Horizon 2020 European research funding for Q4. This was one of the many ‘firsts’ the team of researchers welcomed in 2019 as outlined in the recently launched Research Innovation and Graduate Studies annual Report.

 “It gives me great pleasure to present the 2018/2019 annual report. It demonstrates our continued commitment to the highest standards of research and enabling research activities in the Institute,” Dr White says. “The report highlights the achievements of our researchers and Technology Transfer Office and outlines the impact our team has on research both on a national and an international scale,” he continues.

The 2018/2019 academic year was one of the best for competitively won research funding having been awarded €21.6m from various funding bodies and partners, positioning WIT as one of the top performers in the sector. The breakdown of funding sources is as follows: National 40.41%, European/International 52.03, and Industry 7.56%. The largest single funding institution is the European Commission (52%) followed by Enterprise Ireland (16%) and Science Foundation Ireland (13%).

€12.2m was brought in by Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), with €7m accounted for by the academic schools.

Susie Cullinane, Project Manager of the Research Support Unit praises the tenacity of researchers across the Institute. “This is a superb achievement for our growing team of researchers. The level of work that goes into preparing and writing a funding proposal is incredible and we are delighted to see this work being recognised nationally and internationally,” she says.

Regarded as a trailblazer in Ireland, WIT was the first in the institute of technology sector to introduce a range of research support schemes and funding to its academic Schools and Departments in an effort to enable researchers achieve their personal and academic research goals.

WIT is also one of the first institutes in the sector to introduce a Research Integrity Policy and to appoint a Research Integrity Officer in 2019 further validating the value of research in the institute.

In tangent with the many research projects, the Technology Transfer Office has again delivered on the challenging performance metrics from Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) as the team maintain some of the best targets for patents, industry engagements and spinout companies in the IOT sector.

According to the KTI metrics (which are based on a calendar year rather than academic year) 2019 was the strongest year in the last five years for Licenses/Options/Assignments – 10 were reported; two spin-out companies were formed and four patents were filed; there were 89 research agreements with industry, up from the previous year.

In no small part of this success was the opening of the Enterprise Ireland funded Arclabs extension in WIT’s West Campus in Carriganore, Waterford. This has doubled the innovation and incubation space in the campus positioning WIT at the centre of the region’s innovation ecosystem. Kathryn Kiely, Industry Services Manager in WIT comments “This was a very proud moment for WIT, Arclabs and the innovation sector in the South-East. The West Campus has quickly become a knowledge and innovation hub for companies to nourish and grow with the support of the co-located research centres Arclabs, TSSG and the NRCI.”

WIT has also released a podcast episode to mark the annual report launch which is available here: https://anchor.fm/the-machine/episodes/Ep-21-Research-at-WIT-ectg0o

The report is available here: https://www.wit.ie/images/uploads/News_PDF/WIT_Research_RIGS_20182019_AnnualReport.pdf

WIT VisionAryExperts in tech and nutrition at one of the country’s leading research centres are pooling their skills and resources improve the quality of eye testing and the time it takes to be thoroughly examined.

The Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) and Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) within Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) are partnering on the revolutionary, €300,000 project funded under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund.

VisionAry sees experts in software development from TSSG and a team with a wealth of ocular knowledge from NRCI working together to revolutionise vision testing solutions. Their aim is to create disruptive new technology in the eye testing space using a software defined vision testing approach and bring a whole new and wider range of test solutions to the market.

Frances Cleary, Principal Investigator of VisionAry and Research Unit Manager in TSSG said: “We are delighted to get the green light for this commercialisation fund from Enterprise Ireland. It is the culmination of months of hard work conducting feasibility tests and discussing the need for such an innovative approach with industry experts, including optometrists and ophthalmologists,” she said.

The landmark project challenges the conventional eye test, which has been proven not to accurately predict visual performance. VisionAry brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from academia and industry to realise the potential of a technology focused test. This test aims to be more cost and time effective for both the optometrist and the end user, while providing superior testing of vision quality overall through a range of methods.

Currently eye vision testing relies on a methodology derived in the late 19th century. While it has proved to be a good test of visual acuity it does not represent the full range of vision capabilities, according to Prof John Nolan, Director of NRCI.

“This innovative approach to eye testing is significant to the South East as, not only is there the potential to create a successful company, this approach to eye-testing hasn’t been done anywhere else and could result in job creation and investment in the region,” he said.

Commenting on the project, Dr Mark White, VP Research, Innovation & Graduate Studies, WIT said: “Our researchers are encouraged to nurture and utilise the talent of their colleagues to create something radical and this is a prime example of the success fostering strong relationships within can bring. TSSG and NRCI have the added benefit of being co-located in WIT’s West Campus in Carriganore which is increasingly becoming the knowledge hub of the South East.”

Ian Mills, Tech Lead in TSSG said: “The next 16 months will be exciting yet challenging as we aim to incorporate our ICT expertise into the labs of NCRI. We will be creating a product with the potential to drastically improve the time efficiency and quality of an eye test which will effectively change the market.” 

WIT Tom Boyle mature studentAdults considering a return to full-time education will be able to explore their options from the comfort of home on the morning of Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

As part of its week-long festival of open days (20-24 April), Waterford Institute of Technology is holding a virtual open day especially for mature students of the future.

“The return to education can be an intimidating prospect for adults,” says Conor Phelan, Student Life and Learning Department at WIT. “Asking questions at an open day can be an important first step,” he says. A prime example is Tom Boyle, who last year graduated from WIT in his early 80s. Boyle had begun his return to education by attending a number of open events before he applied to WIT as a mature student.

 “People who have not yet applied to the CAO can do so up to 1 May 2020 at 5.15pm which is the closing date for late applications. WIT accepts mature applicants (except on restricted courses) up to this date. Each year we are contacted by adults who have missed out on this deadline by a day or two, so we strongly encourage people interested in a return to education to log onto www.wit.ie/virtualopenday on Wednesday, 22 April to find out about life as a mature student.”

The mature-student focused virtual open day running from 10am-12pm on Wednesday, 22 April is for adults (over 23) interested in one of WIT’s 70 CAO courses which start at two-year level 6 Higher Certs.

Prospective students of all ages can ask questions about courses each afternoon that week. Each day is dedicated to an academic School at WIT.

During each virtual open day prospective students or parents of CAO applicants will have the chance to chat live with lecturers from the academic School as well as support staff. They can also take an interactive tour of the WIT campus to get a flavour of what to expect.

Marketing and outreach officer at WIT, John Power says people can join the conversation online and see the questions other prospective students have.

“A big part of each virtual open day is the chance to talk with lecturers who deliver our undergraduate programmes and the support staff from right across the institute. Online each day you can chat with staff from our admissions, schools liaison, outreach, fees and grants, accommodation and student life and learning departments,” he adds.

According to Phelan the trend for adults considering a return to education is they are interested in upskilling, a change of career, or having better options.

The majority of WIT’s mature students are Waterford based or commute daily from nearby counties, Wexford, Tipperary and Kilkenny.

In addition to having a dedicated WIT Students’ Union officer, WIT also has a Mature Student Society, and in recent years a network was also established for students who are parents.

WIT's Virtual Open Days schedule

2pm-4pm Monday, 20 April 2020 School of Business Virtual Open Day: Business, Accounting, Digital Marketing and Retail Management CAO courses.

2pm-4pm Tuesday, 21 April 2020 School of Engineering Virtual Open Day: Engineering, Built Environment, Engineering Technology and Architecture CAO courses.

10am-12pm Wednesday, 22 April 2020 Mature Student and Student Supports Virtual Open Day.

2pm-4pm Wednesday, 22 April 2020 School of Health Sciences Virtual Open Day Nursing, Health Sciences, Sport and Exercise Sciences CAO courses.

2pm-4pm Thursday, 23 April 2020 School of Humanities Virtual Open Day: Arts, Social Science, Law, Psychology, Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Art, Design and Music CAO courses.

2pm-4pm Friday, 24 April 2020 School of Science and Computing Virtual Open Day: Laboratory Science, Land Science and Computing CAO courses.

 

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