Omagh Enterprise Company extends the hand of friendship

The Chairman of Omagh District Council, Cllr Frankie Donnelly, hosted a reception this week for 19 students from the “Monts du Lyonnais” Vocational High School in Chazelles sur Lyon, France; the group spent the past four weeks on work experience in Omagh.

The students, accompanied by two of their tutors Marielle Marszalek and Sylvie Mariller, were visiting on a programme aimed at improving their understanding of English and whilst experiencing another country’s culture and way of life.

The school has been involved in this ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ programme for several years, until now sending their students to Denmark. However, on recommendation from a colleague that Omagh was a friendly and welcoming town they investigated the possibilities of bringing the programme here.

With the help of Omagh District Council, Omagh Chamber of Commerce and South West College the students arrived in Omagh on March 11 for their month’s stay. Nine local companies, Omagh Enterprise Company, Omagh District Council, Supervalu, ASDA, South West College, Marks and Spencer, Ulster Herald, McBride’s Spar and Dunnes have provided work placements for the students which were arranged by Omagh Chamber of Commerce. The students have been hosted in local families throughout the district, which was all co-ordinated by the South West College.

Maryne who is one of 19 French students who have carried out a work placement programme in Omagh in recent weeks recalls her experience.

The Leonardo Project is a European project which gives us the opportunity to do our work placement for one month in Omagh, Ireland.

We are a group of 19 French students who have been lucky enough to discover Ireland, a country filled with history and rich in wonderful landscapes. We live close to Lyon, and we are in a vocational school, ‘Lycee des Monts du Lyonnais’ at Chazelle-sur-Lyon.

Some of the French student involved in the exchange programme are studying business studies while other students are in secretarial studies.

During our time in Omagh the group have been working in a range of businesses including Asda, the UH, Supervalu, Omagh Enterprise Company and South West College.

The hospitality of the Irish touches us all a lot, we live in wonderful host families who are happy to share with us their way of life, their culture, their gastronomy. They are proud of their country and it’s beautiful to see.

We have been here for three weeks and, much to my delight, I was able to spend my time as a trainee at the Ulster Herald newspaper in Omagh.

First I was afraid by this work placement, now I’m very happy to be part of this project and to work in this newspaper where I improve my English a little more each day.

In the Ulster Herald I am fortunate to work in all parts of the company, marketing, sales, human resources, and editorial. During my time with the company I did a lot of things, I worked in human resources where I did recruitment with my mentor. I helped to prepare for the St Patrick’s Day Parade and I was delighted to be able to participle in the parade where I was the Ulster Herald mascot.

With my colleagues I was able to visit the Ulster Herald printing department, where it was very interesting to see how the newspaper is created. The working atmosphere in the Ulster Herald is pleasant, and the employees are very friendly and always help me when I don’t understand.

We will go back France this weekend with a heavy heart, because we have been so welcomed here. It will be hard to leave this friendly town but we will take many good memories home with us.