Getting more people on Ireland’s inland waterways! This is Shayne Fogarty’s goal during his Ibec Global Graduates placement with Waterways Ireland

Tell us a few things about yourself.

Born in Sydney, Australia and brought up 17,000 km away in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary. Like all students after I finished my leaving certificate, I was faced with the choice of what to do and where to go. Ultimately, I decided to study general business in Waterford Institute of Technology and I enjoyed every minute of it. After completing my undergraduate degree, I chose to stay in WIT and branch into Marketing & Digital Media, in which I developed an interest in graphic design, branding and advertising.

During my course I undertook a placement with Atto Abrasives in New Ross. Throughout my 6 months there I gained an invaluable insight into what it was like to work in a corporate environment. I was lucky enough that I had good mentors in my corner who suggested that I apply for Ibec Global Graduates Programme. This programme was a perfect next step for me as it offers placement with top Multinational companies, vital first-hand experience and a post-graduate qualification in Global Business Leadership.

Having spent a year with Waterways Ireland, I couldn’t be happier with my time so far. The support from my colleagues and the students I’ve met through Ibec Global Graduates has made my move from Tipperary to Leitrim that much easier.

What do Waterways Ireland do?

Waterways Ireland is one of six North/South bodies established under the British-Irish Agreement of 1998. It is responsible for the management, maintenance, development and promotion of over 1000 km of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes.
In marketing and communications, there’s several facets in which we operate. Such as the events programme, which provides funding and support to events taking place along the water, the education programme, that aims to introduce students to the seven waterways managed by Waterways Ireland and our archive department.

What is your role?

My role within Waterways Ireland is to participate in the expansion of the digital strategy, with the overall goal to get more people on Ireland’s inland waterways!
What’s been great about working here is how my role has continuously developed. Having initially been tasked with the development of the corporate side of Waterways Ireland’s digital content strategy, this has evolved to include recreational promotion too. My job is to liaise with the team, develop and adhere to a strategic promotional plan with specific content themes across our different sectors of operation. This can include website content creation, commission and management of contractors undertaking aerial footage and photography and social media management.
While working with Waterways Ireland, it’s been beneficial that I can get a taste of so many areas, providing me with a well-rounded experience.

How is it to work for Waterways Ireland?

Waterways Ireland is a great company to work for. Even before my first day, I was given advice on where to live, things to do and places to eat. Everyone has made me feel at home. The culture in the organization provides the perfect place for a graduate to grow and learn as there’s never a hesitation in asking a question or making a suggestion. Even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, it was brilliant to see the support and guidance offered by those around me.

Another great aspect is the opportunities to network. Every event and photo-call provides a fantastic way to meet people in the same industry.
Sometimes, it’s great to get out of the office and while I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity both on land and on water to see some of the most scenic places on the island!

What are top tips you would like to share with graduates that wish to apply to this programme?

My top tips for graduates:

-Take the time to find a role which will benefit your development in the long-term. Co-align what you’re interested in with the role advertised.
-Be confident. The last place where you should hold back your accomplishments is on your CV and during an interview. Having graduated from third level, you already have every reason to be confident, so show it.
-Lastly, be optimistic. A positive attitude provides positive results.

Why would you recommend this Tourism programme to other graduates?
I would certainly recommend this programme to other graduates. There’s going to be challenges and some time spent trying to balance assignments, work and your social life. But there’s so much experience I’ve gained and positive people that I’ve met during my first year on the programme that has made the work all worthwhile. I feel as though my confidence has improved ten-fold since the beginning of my placement and this is testament not only to the programme but to Waterways Ireland too for the continued support in my development.

I wish all of those who apply to this programme the very best of luck!

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If you would like to apply to a Tourism placement click here  to create your online application !