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Two Skillnet Ireland Business Networks claimed top prizes at the 2023 Learning and Development Ireland (L&DI) Excellence in Learning Awards.

Learning Waves Skillnet was crowned the overall winner in the ‘Best Graduate Development Initiative’ category for its hugely successful Journalism Graduate Programme, while Lean & Green Skillnet came out on top in the ‘Best Learning & Development Collaboration’ category.  

The Learning Waves Skillnet Journalism Graduate Programme 

The Learning Waves Skillnet Journalism Graduate Programme is a unique and innovative initiative, designed and supported by the independent commercial radio sector, Coimisiún na Meán and Skillnet Ireland. The programme was established in 2019, with five graduates taking part and since then the number of participants each year has doubled to 10. Each graduate is placed in a commercial radio station for five months, where they benefit from mentorship support and learn the industry from the ground up. Eight out of the 10 graduates who took part in the 2022 programme are now working full-time in the sector. The 2023 programme kicked off recently, with 10 more budding journalists beginning their journeys in radio. 

The aims and objectives of the programme are to empower the graduates to tell stories that are truthful and meaningful to society, to create a fundamental understanding and awareness among graduates of media literacy and to future-proof radio journalism, both news and sport, by encouraging graduates into the industry and exposing them to the many opportunities and platforms available for telling stories through radio.  

Learning Waves Skillnet Programme Manager, Teresa Hanratty, said: “We were shocked and delighted to win the award.  The graduate programme is a key initiative for the recruitment and retention of new journalists into the independent radio sector in Ireland.  The support of Skillnet Ireland and Coimisiún na Meán has been crucial to the success of the programme and to be recognised as ‘best in class’ by the Learning and Development Institute in Ireland is a huge accolade. The recognition is testament to the dedication of the stations and graduates who take part in the programme, and we look forward to its continued development in 2024. Congratulations to all the winners on the night.” 

Lean & Green Skillnet’s Certified Water Stewardship (CWS) programme

As climate action and moving to a low-carbon economy have become focal points of national and international policy intention, the need to address water-related problems has become critical. In 2019, to respond to this challenge and as a result of industry and stakeholder collaboration, Lean & Green Skillnet launched the Certified Water Stewardship (CWS) programme.  

In close collaboration with Uisce Éireann, this programme draws on the experiences of the members of Water Stewardship Ireland and was designed to meet the needs of firms to reduce and restore our critical water resources nationally. 

The Certified Water Stewardship Programme has delivered significant and tangible impacts on industry, broader society and the environment; to-date 600+ fully trained water stewards have delivered over 1,400 individual water improvement projects across hundreds of participating sites. It is the first programme of its kind globally to marry expert-driven content with industry and stakeholder input. Participating enterprises come from some of our largest industries and SMEs which will have a significant impact on establishing Ireland as a leader in addressing water challenges across the business sector. 

Reacting to the win at the Excellence in Learning Awards, Lean & Green Skillnet Network Manager, Feargal Delaney, said: “We are delighted to have won the Excellence in Learning Award for best L&DI collaboration. This award recognises how collaboration and working closely with industry partners has led to the development of a world-class national programme. To date, 600+ fully trained water stewards have delivered over 1,400 individual water improvement projects that have resulted in significant and tangible impacts on industry, broader society and the environment.” 

The L&DI Excellence in Learning Awards promote excellence, best practice, and innovation in learning and development and highlights the importance of this area in today’s business climate.
This year Skillnet Ireland proudly sponsored the Best Organisational Development & Transformation Initiative, which was won by Kerry Group. 

This year’s winners were announced at a gala ceremony in the Killashee Hotel, Co Kildare, on Friday evening, September 22nd.   

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