The ‘A Fresh Start for Women’ conference was held in the Clanree Hotel by the WISE project, which has dedicated employment advisors and offices in three locations across the county - Buncrana, Dungloe and Letterkenny.

WISE employment advisors Gemma Duffy (Buncrana), Helen Donoghue (Dungloe) and Grainne Boyle (Letterkenny) showed women how, with their support and guidance, they could explore and access the opportunities available in Donegal for employment, self-employment and education.

The WISE Project is co funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the ESP Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

It is one of the projects that is coordinated and supported by People 1st, which is particularly proud to be awarded the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Platinum Award Winner 2018.

The WISE Project is a FREE programme open to women of all ages who have the potential, and the desire, to play a more active role in the labour force.

It is for women who are neither employed or unemployed - in that they are not in direct receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit.

Women who are claiming One Parents Allowance, Carers Allowance, Disability Allowance, Widow’s Pension or not claiming anything at all are eligible for the programme.

There were four keynote speakers from the business, education and voluntary sector, who spoke about their work and how they achieved their goals and dreams through employment and education.

One guest speaker, Jackie Ferry, told how, with the support of WISE, she was guided back to employment and is now a Key Youth Worker with Youthscape at the Donegal Youth Service.

She spoke of how her employment advisor Helen worked closely alongside her to prepare her for interviews, identify her skills and build her confidence.

Rachel Wasson, Enterprise Officer at Donegal Local Development Company, also gave advice and a motivational talk to all those gathered. Mary Maguire MC on the day from the Donegal Women’s Centre also gave an informative talk on the psychological, emotional, health, social and educational needs that are covered at the centre.

Tara McGuire of the Donegal ETB spoke of the many courses they run in 14 Further Education Training Centres across Donegal.

The women were also entertained by Barbara Edwards of Rhythmic Noise. Guests were also treated to pop-up stands where they discovered great information about local businesses and how they can access avenues of employment and personal development.

The event ended with a raffle, where guests won top spot prizes from companies across Donegal.

The WISE project itself has supported over 150 clients since its inception in May last year, with a large proportion of these women returning to employment, self-employment and education.

If you would like to see what the WISE women can do for you, contact your nearest adviser at the numbers below.

Gemma Duffy (Buncrana) 086 145 2252

Helen Donoghue (Dungloe) 086 145 2249

Grainne Boyle (Letterkenny) 086 145 2250.

PHOTO: Rachel McLaughlin, Donegal Women.

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