I feel privileged to be part of such a fantastic programme working for Fáilte Ireland where I have been presented with endless opportunities and huge levels of responsibility!

Tell us a few things about yourself.

Hi, I’m Ciara, I live in Sandymount in Dublin with my family. I enjoy playing sports, cooking, baking, and travelling. I particularly love living by the sea and take full advantage of it by going for regular swims and walks/runs on the beach. I studied Commerce in University College Dublin which gave me a general but good insight into many possible career paths. I am outgoing and I enjoy meeting new people and for that reason, I knew I wanted a job which allowed me to do this. I worked part-time in the hospitality industry throughout college and really enjoyed the customer facing nature of the job. Throughout this role, I often found myself suggesting and recommending ways for tourists to fill their days in the city and really felt an urge to add to their positive experience of the city. During college, I applied to many different graduate programmes but there was none that excited me as much as the Ibec Global Graduates Programme. I don’t believe there’s a programme like it where you get as much responsibility while also studying a postgraduate diploma. I was lucky enough to secure a position on the programme in September 2019 working for Fáilte Ireland and I have had a fantastic experience so far!

Tell us about your role with Fáilte Ireland.

I work for the Dublin Convention Bureau which sits within the Business Tourism Unit of Fáilte Ireland. To be completely honest, I had absolutely no idea there even was a business tourism industry while I was in college. My role involves marketing Dublin and Ireland as a world-class business tourism destination to international meeting planners. I work on winning corporate meetings and incentives for Dublin. An example of a piece of business we would look to convert for Dublin would be a large multinational corporation who organise annual meetings in different destinations each year to network and learn alongside their colleagues.

It is all about relationship building and relationship management as well as being organised and passionate. I thoroughly enjoy promoting Dublin to international clients, especially because of all we have to offer in our friendly little city, which makes my job that bit easier. We work closely with Dublin hotels, venues, suppliers, and professional conference organisers to name a few. A business tourist is worth three times more to the Irish economy than a leisure tourist as they tend to spend more and come during off-peak times. This forms part of the reason why Fáilte Ireland provide a suite of supports to these international clients, both practical and financial as an incentive to come to Ireland.

During my role so far, I have had huge levels of responsibility, more than I ever could have imagined. Some of the exciting things I have been involved in include: representing Team Ireland at an international trade show in Barcelona, presenting to a travel management company in London, attending a global planner network meeting in Belfast where I met with 60-70 meeting planners, recording a presentation which was showcased to hundreds of the U.S. international clients virtually, presenting to my wider division, conducting key account management throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, redesigning our website, delivering site inspections with international clients showing them potential venues in Dublin for their conference and much more!!

What are the benefits and challenges within the programme?
One of the challenges to overcome is balancing work and the Global Business Leadership Diploma in TU Dublin. I have to be organised outside of work times so that I meet the deadlines for my assignments, reflections and reports. It requires strict time management and discipline, but it can be achieved!
The COVID-19 pandemic has really presented its challenges for me and my team and of course, the wider industry. The tourism industry has been decimated in recent times due to lack of international travel and face-to-face meetings. We are working extremely hard to support our industry at the moment and to keep up the positive association that clients have about Dublin and Ireland so that when we are back to a ‘new normal’, people will still want to travel to Dublin for meetings and incentives. Another challenge would be adapting to the new normal of working from home after only spending 6 months of the programme in the office.

The few minor challenges certainly do not overshadow the endless number of benefits of the programme. It has presented so many opportunities to me so far which I do not believe I would have been given on another graduate programme. I have had exposure to international clients and worked directly with them to bring their event to Dublin. I am part of a team that are always encouraging me to achieve more and get involved in more which I am extremely grateful for. I feel extremely supported and valued.

Another amazing aspect of the programme is that it I am part a network of graduates who are all at a similar stage to me. I am lucky enough to have joined Fáilte Ireland with 5 other graduates, now friends, alongside me.

Top tips for those applying to the programme:
1) Think about exactly what you want from a job and not only how you will fit into the company but also how the company is a fit for you: It is normal that you might feel pressure to get a job after college but don’t waste time in applying for positions you don’t think would suit you. Think hard about the job specifications and choose the ones you think would be the best for you.
2) What’s for you won’t pass you: Don’t be afraid to be yourself and show your personality in the interviews. I did many interviews during my final year in UCD and I firmly believe that the Ibec Global Graduates Programme and Fáilte Ireland, was what best suited me. All you can be is yourself 😊.
3) Reach out to people in the role: Something I found extremely helpful and would encourage anyone considering this programme to do also would be to reach out to those in the programme already.

Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message with any questions or concerns you may have about applying; I’d be delighted to help!

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