(Left to right): Des Crinion, Slane Food Circle; Clare McEnerney, Sonairte; Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, LEO Louth; Patricia Moriarity, Head of School of School Business and Humanities, DKIT; Joe English, Head of Enterprise, LEO Meath; Barbora Browne, Baska Bakery; Tara Smith, Boyne Valley Food Development Officer; Maeve Carragher; Lorraine Dunne, Lecturer and Programme Manager, DKIT; Brianáin Erraught, Head of Department of Hospitality Studies, DKIT; Lorna Cooney, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, LEO Meath. Photo: Barry Cronin.
DKIT and Local Enterprise offices in Louth and Meath have collaborated to develop a Level 7 Certificate in Applied Business Development for Food Tourism to address the growing need for training supports in the sector.
The Boyne Valley region has long been recognised as a tourist destination. In recent years, the emergence of a strong artisan food sector within the region has also put it on the map as one of Ireland’s leading Food Tourism destinations. The Local Enterprise Offices, along with their academic partner, Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), recognised the need to provide specialised training for businesses operating within this sector and they have been working in partnership for the past year to develop a suitable programme.
Tuesday 6th March was a proud moment for all those involved as the programme was formally launched with 14 small food tourism businesses from the Boyne Valley region on board.
This certificate is the first of its kind in the country and has been developed especially for owners and managers of businesses involved in or expanding into the food tourism sector. The collaboration between local authorities and third level institutes was greatly welcomed by Kevin Stewart, Director of Services with Meath County Council, who congratulated all those involved in the programme.
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Participants will be equipped with a unique blend of skills in the areas of strategic business planning, web analytics, digital marketing communications and customer experience management. The addition of a human resources module will support participants by giving them the essential skills and knowledge necessary to recruit and retain the right people to achieve their strategic objectives.
The programme is a combination of structured workshops and site visits.
The programme is part of the Boyne Valley Food Strategy 2016-2021, where both Louth and Meath County Councils and their respective Local Enterprise Offices made a commitment to provide training supports to new and existing businesses. DkIT is also very proud to support this strategy and the development of the food business skill set in the region.
Patricia Moriarty, Head of School of Business and Humanities in DkIT echoed this in her address at the launch ceremony when she said:
“Dundalk Institute of Technology is closely affiliated with our north east region and are proud to support local enterprise and local entrepreneurs. DkIT’s current strategic plan identifies as strategic goal five the enhanced engagement with enterprise and the community and embedded knowledge exchange. With this goal in mind, we are delighted to be involved in this project which we know will benefit our region. We are particularly delighted to launch this programme during Local Enterprise Week.”
This article was written by Anthony Murphy