December 23, 2015

Internationally successful enterprise group ‘Guide a Key’ from Desmond College
making a presentation to their mentor Mr. Donal Enright.


December 2015: Guide a Key make a presentation to their mentor, Donal Enright

L to R: Seamus Hurley, Diarmuid Curtin, Mr. Donal Enright, Emma Herbert and Eamon Browne.

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2015, Feb

Transition Year ‘Guide A Key’ Mini Company

Transition Year students are currently busy setting up their mini company for a number of competitions in the near future. The students have designed a device that helps people with dexterity issues to guide their key into a keyhole with ease.

Seamus Hurley, Eamonn Browne, Emma Herbert, Diarmuid Curtin, Eoin Considine

The company is made up of the following team: Seamus Hurley (accounts manager), Eamonn Browne (production manager), Emma Herbert (Managing director), Diarmuid Curtin (Secretary) and Eoin Considine (Marketing Director)

2015, March

Desmond College Student Business Awards Success

Students from Desmond College assembled along with over 100 students from twenty Limerick post primary schools last Thursday to compete for prizes in the 2015 Student Enterprise Awards held in the South Court Hotel. This was indeed a historic event as it heralded the inaugural competition of what were known as the City and County Enterprise Boards, Mayor Kevin Sheehan commented on the fact that as he opened the prize giving.

Over 30 schools were involved on the day with a diverse range of products, services on offer. A majority of those involved had already been short listed to participate by their schools such was the demand for places, Limerick Enterprise Board with the cooperation of Mr Garry Lowe have been assisting schools since September 2014 in preparation for the finals. Thursday the 12th was the culmination of their efforts where the students set up their stands and prepared their pitches for the judges that reviewed their products/ services, following intense questioning the judges selected winners in Junior (first year), Intermediate (2nd & 3rd Year) and Senior (TY, 5th & 6th Year) categories to represent Limerick in the National Finals to be held in Croke Park on April 22nd.

Desmond College have a proud tradition in this competition, having won the overall award on three previous occasions, but to be selected to represent all of Limerick in both the Intermediate and Senior sections was recognition of the work by the students and teachers of this Newcastle West post primary school.

Emma Herbert – Managing Director of Guide a Key – winners of the senior section, who have designed and manufactured a device that assists people with limited manual dexterity in inserting a key into any standard lock, stated that she and her fellow directors Diarmuid Curtin, Eamonn Browne, Seamus Hurley & Eoin Considine were delighted to have been chosen from over thirty companies. Guide a Key were selected for their innovation, display, business plan and interview to participate in the All Ireland Finals.

Eamon Browne, Eamonn Ryan (CEO Enterprise Board), Seamus Hurley, Kevin Sheehan (Mayor),Emma Herbert, Heather Supple (Limerick Enterprise Board), Eoin Considine

Young Enterprise

A team of students from Desmond College, Newcastle West comprising of Emma Herbert (Managing Director) and fellow directors Eamonn Browne, Eoin Considine, Seamus Hurley and Diarmuid Curtin , transition year students have established a mini company as part of their enterprise module.

Young Enterprise 2015 : Seamus Hurley, Eamonn Browne, Emma Herbert, Diarmuid Curtin and Eoin Considine.

They have designed and manufactured a device, which aids people with limited dexterity inserting their key into the lock. The device is affixed on to the area around the keyhole; the user then simply slides their key into the top part of the device, which then guides their key into the keyhole. It work with any standard front door lock and comes compete with full instructions.

In addition to establishing their own business the students have created their own website, Facebook, Snapchat, Linked In and Twitter accounts. The product is selling well as people appreciate the unique selling points; this innovative product has to offer.

For more information, find Guide a Key on Facebook or on Instagram.

2015, April

Get Up and Go Enterprise Competition

The Transition Years mini-company group composed of Liam Dowling, Emma Herbert, Eoin Considine, Diarmuid Curtin, Seamus Hurley & Eamonn Browne, will represent Desmond College at the National Finals of Get Up and Go, the Transition Year Enterprise Competition to be held in the Osprey Hotel – Nass on 5th May.

The Transition Years mini-company group composed of Liam Dowling, Emma Herbert, Eoin Considine, Diarmuid Curtin, Seamus Hurley & Eamonn Browne

Guide a Key have regional finals of Junior Achievement Ireland – coming up on 15th April – Limerick Institute of Technology. They are being assisted by Mark Murphy of Dell, who is acting as their mentor.

Student Enterprise Awards

Kehlan Kirwin, who judges the Student Enterprise Awards is presenter & producer of The Small Business Show which goes out on Clare FM on Saturdays & Tipp FM on Thursdays.

His most recent show features interviews of the winners from this year’s Student Enterprise Awards:

External Link: SoundCloud Clare FM
First 11 minutes: Interview with Desmond College’s Emily Duffy of Homeless Wrap – (The Duffily Bag) 3min 7sec
and Guide a Key (Eoin Considine) 5min 44sec


2015, May

Desmond College Students Aim to Unlock Europe

Junior Achievement Award Winners from Desmond College: Diarmuid Curtin, Seamus Hurley, Emma Herbert, Eoin Considine and Eamonn Browne

In 2015 260,000 young people created student companies across Europe as part of the Junior Achievement Company competition. In Ireland, of the thousands of students that entered this year, 10 projects were selected through a series of regional finals to compete in UCD Ryan Academy in City West this week.

The students had to prepare a portfolio as well as submit to interviews at their stands and in boardroom conditions by a series of judges, representing some of Ireland’s top companies over two days. Day two of the competition saw the students having to pitch their idea to a packed auditorium. The Junior Achievement Company Programme helps young people appreciate and better understand the role of business in our society. With the support and guidance of business volunteers from the local business community, the Programme provides basic economic education for secondary students.

Representing Ireland in the European finals of this the biggest competition of its kind will be five Desmond College students, Emma Herbert (Managing Director), Seamus Hurley, Eoin Considine, Diamuid Curtin and Eamonn Browne were elated when there company “Guide A Key” was announced as the National Winners of this prestigious competition. The students have invented a simple device that can be affixed to the outside of doors that allows people with manual dexterity issues to easily insert their key in locks. Emma speaking about their success was quick to point out that it has come after months of hard work by her fellow Transition Year students in Desmond College. The students now prepare to go globally as they take their project to Berlin in July, where they will represent Ireland along with companies from 27 other European countries.


2015, November

Desmond College Entrepreneurs enjoy Breakfast with Minister Jan O’Sullivan in Dell

Members of the business community and leaders in education in the Mid-West joined Minister Jan O’Sullivan on Friday 6th November at Dell’s Limerick Campus to consider the future of the world of work and to discuss how industry and education combine to inspire young people in the region to maximise their potential.

This unique opportunity was hosted by Dell for Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), which is the largest non-profit organisation in the region, recruiting, training and supporting volunteers from business to facilitate programmes covering themes like employability, financial literacy, the value of studying STEM subjects and entrepreneurship skills for local students.

November 2015: Desmond College Entrepreneurs Guide A Key with Peter Cosgrove Chairman of Junior Achievement Ireland
Desmond College Entrepreneurs Guide A Key with
Peter Cosgrove, Chairman of Junior Achievement Ireland

As part of the event, student entrepreneurs from Desmond College Limerick, who represented Ireland with distinction over the summer at the JA Europe Company of the Year Final, were presented with a memento of their achievement for their school.

In summarising her remarks today Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D said:

“I want to acknowledge the work of Dell in contributing to the wider community – not just in the education sector as we are focusing on here today, but in a range of other initiatives such as supporting the Arts and raising funds for charity.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Dave & all his colleagues for their commitment and innovation in contributing to our community.
Equally, I am delighted to show my support for the work of Junior Achievement Ireland. The reputation it has among school leaders and other stakeholders has been built over 20 years and continues to go from strength to strength.
I believe training volunteers from local businesses to work with students in classrooms is a great way to help the students make a connection between what they are doing in school and the variety of options open to them.
I would encourage every suitable organisation to get involved if they can – investing in young people is always worthwhile and with Junior Achievement the volunteers themselves learn as much from the programme as the students!”

2015 November: Desmond College Entrepreneurs Emma Herbert and Diarmuid Curtin from Guide a Key (photo by Brian Gavin : Press 22)
Junior Achievement Dell Limerick: Desmond College Entrepreneurs
Emma Herbert and Diarmuid Curtin from Guide a Key

Fiona McCarthy, HR Executive Director, Dell EMEA said:

“We’re delighted to host this morning’s event at our campus here in Limerick.
Dell have enjoyed a long relationship with Junior Achievement Ireland in Limerick as well as in Dublin and Cork where our other campuses are located.
From a Dell perspective, each year in Limerick we put 50-60 team members on the JA teaching roster – we cover primary and secondary schools and most will spend a class a week for 5 or 6 weeks delivering the set programmes.
We have also worked with Junior Achievement on the Company Programme, with Dell supplying mentors and bringing in school groups for the ‘Future Skills’ Project.
There’s also a STEM skills project that some of our regular programme volunteers have participated on. Junior Achievement is an excellent partner.
We look forward to continuing to work together and would have no hesitation in urging you and your company to get involved with the organisation.”

Industry expert, Peter Cosgrove, director and Chairman of JAI and a partner in CPL, one of Ireland’s largest recruitment firms, spoke at the event, sharing his research on the future of the world of work. He said:

“Technology is influencing how organisations are planning and developing. Employers must offer flexible work and an open, collaborative, free-flowing work environment.
Similarly, the education system is challenged to continue to encourage creativity and enable young people to develop skills in analysing and synthesising significant amounts of data so that they can enjoy a rewarding career in the workplace of the future.
The emergence of the portfolio career is also a factor – where people are now looking to work for companies whose mission and values set are aligned with their own passions and talents.
Employers now have to accommodate expectations around their corporate citizenship such as their willingness to offer volunteering opportunities in order to engage the employees they need.”

Civic Reception for Desmond College Students

Enterprise students, Emma Herbert, Diarmuid Curtin, Eoin Considine, Eamonn Browne and Seamus Hurley were afforded the inaugural civic reception in the local county council offices by Cllr. Michael Collins in the Municipal District Office in Newcastle West. The event was supported by fellow councillors, council staff, members of Desmond College Board of Management, Ms Vourneen Gavin Barry – Principal, and students.

Desmond College Enterprise Students at Civic Reception in Local County Council

The students were recognised for the achievements with their mini company Guide a Key, where they designed and manufactured an innovative device to assist people with limited manual dexterity insert a key into any standard lock, the students were successful in local and national enterprise competitions and they also received an award in a the European Finals of Junior Achievement Europe, held in Berlin over the summer.

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