7th February 2019

Business in the Community Ireland’s (BITCI) Skills @ Work Programme partners businesses with secondary schools to give students work life skills and insights

Roscommon Community College are delighted to announce the ‘Skills @ Work Programme’ partnership with the Heat Merchants Group.  In early January 2019, Heat Merchants Group has made a commitment to assist and encourage Senior Cycle Business students at Roscommon Community College to complete their schooling, by providing them with valuable first-hand insight and experience of the working world.

As part of the newly established partnership, students will take part in the ‘Skills @ Work Programme’, where volunteer employees work with students on C.V. writing and interview skills and give them an insight into the array of jobs available to students through ‘A Day in the Life” session. The partnership has been facilitated by the Schools’ Business Partnership (SBP) and is an initiative of Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI). The Heat Merchants Group have been established in Athlone since 2012 and employ over 300 people across their network of 44 branches.  Alan Hogan, Managing Director, commenting on the partnership with Roscommon Community College, said:

“It is extremely important that students are fully aware of potential job opportunities within their communities, as cities are not always the answer.  This programme is beneficial for the local economy and can assure the future staffing needs of our company along with providing skilled workers for other local businesses and prospective businesses.”

The ‘Skills @ Work Programme’ at Roscommon Community College will run over a number of weeks leading into the summer break. During the year, employees of Heat Merchants will talk to the students about the real-life skills required in the workplace, such as C.V. writing and interview preparation.  The Human Resource Manager, Suzanne Devlin, based in Northern Ireland, will work with the LCVP and Senior Cycle Business Students, giving advice on C.V. writing, interview preparation and finally with the help of her colleagues in the HR department, will be inviting students to a mock interview in the company’s head office.  Heat Merchants Group management will organise ‘A Day in the Life’ session, to assist the students in recognising the value of completing the Leaving Certificate and help them explore possible career paths.  The students will also be brought on a site visit to the Heat Merchants Group HQ and witness the many career opportunities that exist in the heating, plumbing and renewable energy sector.

Georgina Keena, Principal of Roscommon Community College, speaking about the social partnership programme added:

“This programme broadens horizons, helps students view their future in terms of a career as opposed to just a job and to think outside the box as well as looking at traditional areas.  It improves student/management/pupil relations, improves their confidence when addressing authority figures, makes students proud of their school and themselves and it encourages them to dwell on their strengths.”

Funded by the Department of Education and the participating businesses, The Schools’ Business Partnership (SBP) has matched 204 post primary schools in Ireland with a local business.


LtoR: Principal Georgina Keena, Roscommon Community College, Denise Staunton, Business Department, Suzanne Devlin, HR Manager and Alan Hogan Manager.