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SETU, Waterford Chamber, local employers, training providers, and support agencies joined together with Cartamundi to support employees in forging new career paths, following the closure announcement of the Waterford manufacturing plant after 45 years in operation.

As part of the multi-agency support for the 234 Cartamundi staff, a career and training fair was recently held at SETU's Cork Road campus. The event was jointly organised by SETU, Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB), INTREO, and Waterford Chamber Skill Net, working together with Cartamundi. The event also benefited from the generous support of local employers.


Feedback from the Cartamundi staff was very positive. Workers mentioned the value of being able to engage face-to-face with multiple prospective employers, training providers at all levels, and a variety of support agencies - from the WWETB Adult Education Guidance Service to INTREO.

Since the closure announcement in March, Waterford Chamber has been engaging with Cartamundi and contacting companies to source employment opportunities, while also recommending upskilling and training through Waterford Chamber Skill Net.


According to Gerald Hurley, CEO of Waterford Chamber, “Cartamundi are deeply committed to supporting their employees and it was encouraging to see how willing they were to assist in helping them source alternative employment. As the largest business representative organisation in the South East, we knew we could tap into our extensive network to decipher what roles were out there that would be in line with the skillset of Cartamundi employees. 

“In the current climate of a major skills shortage, it has also been interesting to see the number of people who are open to retraining, upskilling or simply trying a new career. Through the Waterford Chamber Skill Net network, we provide subsidised training and I have no doubt, many of the participants will go on to have very successful careers across the region.”

Positive disruption

Head of Department of Lifelong Learning at SETU, Neil Quinlan said the technological university was delighted to work with the multi-agency group by offering support to staff and providing a venue for the event. “It’s part of what being a regional university is all about. So too, is our role in informing staff of the broad range of funded upskilling and re-skilling course opportunities available to them at all levels, from Springboard to Skillnets and Skills to Advance. Several staff were working to turn the plant closure into a ‘positive disruption’ in their lives by moving on to new jobs and further training.”

Upskill or re-skill

Meanwhile, WWETB supported and guided staff, hoping to upskill or re-skill. Joann Power of WWETB said, “The aim of the career and training event was to promote and raise awareness of the diverse range of FET programmes and supports available in Waterford, which are designed to meet the needs of individuals at different stages of their learning pathway, in conjunction with an array of options from other providers. It was an ideal opportunity for those looking to upskill or re-engage in education.

“The Skills for Work initiative, in particular, responded to the news of the imminent closure by facilitating over 160 employees in accessing an unaccredited career preparation component and many have signed up for progression courses throughout the ETB since.”


Ms Power noted that the flexibility of the Skills for Work initiative ensured that the most vulnerable people within the workplace were not left behind. The WWETB team connected the learners with various departments' expertise, including the Waterford Training Centre’s day and evening courses, NZEB, Back to Education Initiative, and VTOS programmes. 

For further information regarding the Skills for Work initiative, please contact [email protected] or for advice on the range of course options please contact Peter Lucey in the Guidance Service [email protected].