First female Principal of Waterford College of Further Education
Noreen Reilly is the first female Principal of Waterford College of Further Education (formerly CTI Waterford) which has been in existence since 1906 serving the educational needs of Waterford City and its environs. Noreen says she is privileged to lead the teaching and learning community in this dynamic PLC College which offers over 40 PLC courses at QQI Level’s 4, 5 & 6 and runs the ATI and NHA apprenticeships along with core and dispersed VTOS classes. WCFE also affords the opportunity for students to attain internationally accredited awards in Beauty Therapy, and Tourism. WCFE also runs a very vibrant night school with classes to entice a wide variety of interested students. Our latest new course is the Early Learning and Childcare Course which supports students returning to the workforce and develops the necessary skills to support children at the formative stage in their lives. WCFE is run by Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) which provides a comprehensive range of education and training services throughout Waterford and Wexford and is the largest education and training provider in counties Waterford and Wexford. WCFE places learning and the learner at the heart of its educational provision and Noreen says that she is “delighted and extremely lucky to be part of such a vibrant and busy College with an excellent team, meeting the needs of WCFE learners”. I pride myself on guiding students onto third level courses in SETU and colleges in Carlow, Cork, Dublin in the UK and Scotland with the expert guidance of WCFE guidance counsellor. Equally many students progress directly into the workplace in schools, industry, music and Childcare’ Noreen says, “WCFE strives to ensure that learners are supported to achieve their maximum potential from education. Thankfully we have an incredibly hard-working team of talented staff in WCFE,” she said. “I love the work and I find it incredibly interesting. The highlight for me is meeting with students and staff and solving problems every day. I get great satisfaction from my role. It is a privilege to experience the positive life changes achieved through education. After 33 years teaching, I can say, I am very lucky to work in a role that I love, where I get the chance to support students to see the endless opportunities in further education and training with no limit on how far they can progress’’. WCFE is currently enrolling for the 23/24 academic year, “your future starts here… come join us you won’t regret it”.
Embracing impact of women in public Life
This International Women’s Day, the Southern Regional Assembly is highlighting the importance of women’ in public roles as local and regional representatives. And the important role of women working in public sector organisations such as ours. As the regional tier of government in Ireland, the Southern Regional Assembly leads on delivering the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region and managing the roll out of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regional Programmes. This regional level is represented by 33 local councillors serving as Assembly Members who are nominated by either their local authority or as a Committee of the Regions member. Six locally elected women serve at the regional level as Regional Assembly Members. Four were nominated by their own local authority − Cllr. Deirdre O’Brien and Cllr. Sheila O’Callaghan, both Cork County, Cllr. Maura Bell, Wexford County, Cllr. Siobhán Ambrose, Tipperary County. Cllr. Deirdre Forde from Cork City Council and Cllr. Gillian Coughlan from Cork County Council. represent the Southern Region as a whole at EU level at the Committee of the Regions institution − an important voice of our regions and cities in the EU law making process. The work of all our Regional Assembly Members is to represent their local authorities at the regional level on issues related to regional and spatial planning and monitoring EU funded programmes that invest in the regions. As the Southern Regional Assembly manages ERDF regional programmes, Assembly Members are involved in monitoring the European Regional Development Fund’s new Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme which runs until 2027. This programme is set up to support regional research and innovation, support the combat against energy poverty and the regeneration of our regional towns. It will invest €663 million in two Irish regions to support the new technological universities, regional enterprises communities and households at risk of poverty.The Assembly is responsible for implementing the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy for the Southern Region which feeds into the objectives of the National Development Plan and the ERDF Regional Programme will support the objectives of the Strategy. For further details, please visit: www.southernassembly.ie
Chief Financial Officer/ Group Team Leader (WCH & Walsh Group)
Louise resides in Tramore with her husband Ray and her two daughters, Aoibhin and Caoimhe. She qualified as an accountant 29 years ago having trained with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Wexford. Louise spent eight years of her career working internationally at senior management level at PwC offices in Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and Washington DC, predominantly in the IPO (Initial Public offering) and hospitality teams. In 2005, after the birth of her first child, Aoibhin, Louise came home with her family to settle back in Tramore, Co Waterford. Since her return to Ireland, she has worked at board and senior officer level, mainly in the hospitality industry. In 2015, Seamus Walsh, Waterford Castle proprietor and CEO, appointed Louise as his Chief Financial Officer and overall team leader of his group operations in Ireland. Louise attributes her success to her work ethic and the many fantastic mentors (male and female) she has had along the way. “I like working in very dynamic environments alongside people that ‘think out of the box’,” she says. “A good leader will always encourage and promote people that ‘value add’ to any organisation, so I constantly remind my daughters that in today’s world women can achieve great things and the world is their oyster once they possess the skills, ambition and drive required to do the job they were hired to do.”
Louise recently attended an Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce corporate luncheon at Croke Park with Seamus Walsh and his son Finn, to further strengthen and solidify the bond that exists between Ireland – particularly the Southeast – and Australia. Waterford Castle is looking forward to welcoming Ambassador Gary Gray – whom they met at the event – to the 310-acre Island in the near future. While tourism is obviously a main driver, the Group appreciates its Irish patrons also. Business at the Ballinakill resort – which includes an 18-hole championship golf course and a range of other leisure pursuits – was helped by strong domestic demand during the pandemic, with revenues boosted by staycation business during that period. Louise says, “We have a very strong wedding business and we managed to retain most of our postponed weddings in 2020/2021 by postponing them into 2022.”
Waterford Castle Spring Wedding Showcase takes place on Sunday, 26 March (2 –4.30pm), when attendees can meet the venue’s award-winning wedding team, take a tour of the 16th-Century Castle and sample some signature hospitality.
‘Munster Express’ sport editor, leader of ‘The Big Sing 2013’
“Women sports presenters were almost a non-entity when I began working in the profession in 1998,” says Catherine Power, long-time broadcaster and sports editor of The Munster Express for the past eleven years. “For the first few years I worked in radio, I wasn’t aware of any other female sports presenter and it wasn’t until 2009 that Jacqui Hurley became the first woman to co-host a sports programme on RTE radio. Female presenters and reporters are more the norm today but it’s been a long time coming. ‘You’re quite good, considering you’re a woman’ was a comment that really grated on me in the early days, but I soon learned to ignore opinions based on gender. For me, it was always about being a decent sports journalist rather than a decent female sports journalist.” Catherine adds: “The most satisfying aspect of my job has been meeting and getting to know Waterford’s young athletes as they started out and then following their careers with great joy and pride. I’m thinking of people such as Kelly Proper, Kate Veale, Thomas Barr and golfer Séamus Power (inset), sportspeople who have competed − and are still competing − at the highest level.” Running alongside Catherine’s life-long interest in sport has been a similar passion for music. “Although perhaps a little unusual, it is possible to be a committed musician and an avid sports fan, the two are not mutually exclusive!” she smiles. “Having been a musician all my life, one of the most difficult aspects of the Covid-enforced lockdown, for me at any rate, was the absence of singing and performing with the musical groups and choirs I had been involved with. We kept in touch through Zoom, but there’s nothing like being back together. It’s been wonderful to see the return of choirs and singing groups and I know all the groups I am involved with are delighted to be back and hugely looking forward to our next venture.” That venture is ‘The Big Sing 2023’ (with Glenn Murphy, MC and soloist), which will feature a combined choir of over 300 sing their way through some very well known songs on the evening of Friday, May 5th at the Sacred Heart Church, The Folly, while raising funds for charity. This event raised over €6,000 when it was held in November 2019 and the chosen charity this time around is the Alzheimer’s Association of Ireland’s Pinegrove Day Care Centre on Passage Road. The Sacred Heart ‘Simply Singing’ Group, which celebrates its fifth birthday next month, is one of the participating music groups. “‘Simply Singing’ sessions are held at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre every Tuesday evening at 7pm for 45 minutes and are open to anyone who wants to come along,” says Catherine, pictured (right) conducting ‘The Big Sing’ four years ago. Over the next few weeks the group will sing and rehearse all the numbers to be aired on the evening of May 5th and, as they say, all are welcome to add their voices to what’s sure to be another wonderful mix.