Training and Development Opportunities a Key Value New Hires now Seek


Cillian Griffey, Shannon Chamber Skillnet network manager, pictured at the training and development seminar held in Entry Point North Shannon with (from left); Vicky Howard, HR manager, Reagecon Diagnostics; Justine Leigh, head of learning and development, Pepper Asset Servicing, and Tracey O’Halloran, simulator specialist, Entry Point North. Photograph by Eamon Ward.


Companies need to cater for the training needs of all its employees, current and potential, when drawing up training and development plans and budgets and, they need to be aware that skills and hustle are the sought-after requirements of the new millennial generation. 

That was the clear message emanating from a training and development seminar organised by Shannon Chamber Skillnet in association with Pepper Asset Servicing and Reagecon Diagnostics, supported by Career Decisions, Irish Business Training (IBT), Atlantic Aviation Group and Entry Point North. The seminar was held at Entry Point North at the Irish Aviation Authority’s facility in Shannon.

Keynote speakers at the seminar, Justine Leigh, head of learning and development with Pepper and Reagecon Diagnostic’s HR manager, Vicky Howard, both stressed the importance of training in an organisation and urged companies to regard it as their unique selling point (USP) for retaining and attracting staff.

They also commented on the necessity of training back-ups for key positions to ensure process continuity; of using training to make employees more valuable, to increase performance and, to give competitors a ‘run for their money’.

“Training supports a company’s goals and acts as a map of where employees are going in an organisation,” said Pepper Asset Servicing’s Justine Leigh, stressing the importance of choosing credible learning providers and checking up on employees’ learning post training.

“Training is not effective when not measured,” she said.

Citing the alarming fact that 68% of SMEs have no HR departments, Reagecon’s Vicky Howard said that the company, itself an SME with 86 employees, uses training to develop and promote from within and is extremely strategic in how it undertakes training.

“Our aim is to be a €50 million company in the next five years and the largest player worldwide in our sector,” she added.

A panel discussion involving the keynote speakers as well as Shane O’Neill, COO, Atlantic Aviation Group and Aidan McMahon, CEO, Gentian Services, prompted interesting panel and audience interaction and discussion and addressed issues such as: the challenge in scaling an SME and creating an innovation environment with innovative people; prioritising time for training; creating a community of learning and a learning culture within organisations and, the sharing of learning post course completion.

Commenting on the value of a seminar of this nature to business, Shannon Chamber Skillnet network manager, Cillian Griffey stated: “This seminar really captured the importance of upskilling and the benefits that can be derived for employees. The focus on return on investment and how it demonstrates that it aligns with the business strategy were all crucial take-aways from this seminar. Shannon Chamber Skillnet will continue to be at the heart of working with businesses in the region to facilitate learning and development.”

Photograph by Eamon Ward
Photograph by Eamon Ward


Helen Downes, Shannon Chamber CEO (centre) with (from left): Miriam Magner Flynn, Career Decisions; Donal Fitzgibbon, Irish Business Training; Aidan McMahon, Gentian Services and Shane O’Neill, Atlantic Aviation Group.