From March 12th to March 15th 19 Norwegian students a Norwegian teacher and 2 Swedish teachers visited Waterford City on the invitation of Ciaran Cullen CEO (Acting) of Waterford City Enterprise board. The students (18-19 years olds) are studying a 3-year entrepreneurship program, this is the student’s 3rd and last year and the Irish visit is the highlight of their year.
A full itinerary was planned for the group including visits to Waterford City enterprises, WIT, historical venues such as Reginald’s Tower and on Tuesday March 13th they attended a private morning seminar. Held at the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly the seminar included speakers such as Jim Power, economist with Friend’s First and the Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Mr. Roald Næss on topics such as Irish/Norwegian trade relations and how Ireland has dealt with the European financial crisis.
This is not the first time Waterford City Enterprise Board has hosted a Norwegian student group. Ciaran Cullen CEO (Acting) emphasises the importance of the visit, “We have spent a number of year’s developing friendships with Norway and hosting student groups. Our approach to enterprise development is a good example to the students and their enterprise teachers. We hope to make a return visit to Norway in 2013 with Waterford City students and local enterprises in order to strengthen our relationship and hopefully resulting in some productive trade relations between Waterford City and Norway.”
The Norwegian teacher, Mariann Janson described their long term vision for the relationship as…
“We would very much like to make this study visit permanent for our 3rd grade entrepreneurship class. Ireland is in many ways similar to Norway, it is a small country with about 5 million inhabitants. Yet there are many differences, Ireland is close to Great Britain and a member of EU, and have different challenges to Norway. Our students need to learn that Norway is a small country on the edge of Europe, and we depend heavily of the rest of Europe and the world. Many Norwegians seem to think that we will get along fine on our own because of the oil, this is definitely not the case. We also think that this is a great opportunity to show our students the beautiful Irish nature and the possibilities to go to university here. Not many have been to Ireland before, so this will open their eyes to what Ireland has to offer.”
JA-YE Europe (www.ja-ye.org ) is Europe’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy, reaching 3.1 million students in 37 countries in 2011. Funded by businesses, institutions, foundations and individuals, JA-YE brings the public and private sectors together to provide young people in primary and secondary schools and early university with high-quality education programmes to teach them about enterprise, entrepreneurship, business and economics in a practical way. The JA-YE Company Programme is recognised by the European Commission Enterprise Directorate General as a ‘Best Practice in Entrepreneurship Education’. JA-YE Europe is the European headquarters for JA Worldwide®.)