b'While Speedpak hires people to work in the achieving. A persons journey may be three stepscompanys product packing and finishing ware- or three hundred, but were here to help themhouse, they are simultaneously offering training conquer their fears and change their mindset. and education to that same workforcemade upprimarily of long-term unemployed peopleso Changing mindsets and instilling a sensetheycaneventuallyleavethecompanyforof possibility is a key component of Speedpaksemployment elsewhere. ethos.Andrealeftschoolat16.Withsix Most employers hire only the best people, brothers and sisters there just wasnt much extraand then work to keep them. We are the opposite, money in our house, she explained. I took aexplained Edel Moloney, Change and Develop- summer job at a meat factory to earn money and ment Manager at Speedpak. We intentionally I never went back to school. Later in life, I washire the people that need employment training raising my two children. the most. People who are single mothers, people Andrea learned about Speedpak from herwho are long-term unemployed, ex-drug users, sister who worked there. I came for an interviewand ex-offenders. Then we work with them to be and they took me on. Now Im getting my equiva-ready for bigger opportunities. lent of a Leaving Certificate and my confidence isSpeedpak was established in 1995 by a local lifted. In my next job, Im going to be a manager.development company, the Northside Partner- Because of my training here, I know now that I canship, with the involvement of the local business do more than just work at a till.community and support of Government agencies. Speedpaks investments in the communitySince then, they have had over 500 people come and the positive results have been recognized. Inthrough their workplace and training program. 2010 they received a coveted Arthur GuinnessClients work on a six-month contract and for no Fund Award for their Workplace Accreditationlongerthanthreeyearsandtakeaccredited Model that translates the workplace learning ex-classes to convert workplace learning to earn the perience into an accredited Irish educationalequivalent of a Leaving Certificate (high school qualification. In 2011, they also received a grantdiploma)whiletheyaregainfullyemployed. from The Ireland Funds Grant Round thanks toMore importantly, they leave with manufacturing the Promising Ireland Campaign. I sometimeswork experience that is valuable to employers and think that the job that we do and the impact werea new sense of confidence in their ability. having on the community is not always seen in itsEdelspokeofthechallengesthatthefullness, said Edel. When the economy is notcommunity faces and the methods Speedpak uses good, its difficult to give to programs like this.to address them. There is a culture of early The grant from The Ireland Funds is a real vote ofschool leaving and unemployment in this area of confidence. It will allow us to carry out valuableIreland and in some cases it goes on for genera- research to measure the progress that employeestions. Once someone leaves school, it can be very make during their time with Speedpak and iden-scary to go back. We teach them the skills that they tify which interventions are most effective.will need to survive in the workplace: even basic The long term goal of Speedpak is to takethings like how to work with someone that you their work experience and training model and dont like, or how to communicate with yourexpand it across Ireland to other areas affected byemployer when things arent going well at home. unemployment where there is a need for job skillsByteachingthesecommunicationskillsintraining. The Ireland Funds recognize the quietadditiontoteachingworkskills,weseetheand positive work that Speedpak is doing and areimprovements in people. We see the changes in proud to support this innovative program.their work habits and behavior. We see peopleconnect 2012 | 43'