Gairmscoil Chú Uladh is First School in Ireland to Participate in Business in the Community Ireland programme through Irish

Image of students and teachers standing together at the launch outside the school.
Gairmscoil Chú Uladh second year students with SCP Coordinator Sadie Kelly, Nodlaig Brolly (Optum), Deputy Principal Paraicín Ní Fhaoláin, Principal Ciarán Mac Ruaidhrí and Business Studies Teacher Nuala McCool.

Gairmscoil Chú Uladh is the first Irish language school in the country to participate in the ‘Saothar an tSaoil’ (World of Work) programme through the medium of Irish, run by Business in the Community Ireland (BITC).

Second year Business Studies students from the Donegal ETB school based in Ballinamore have been partnered with Optum Ireland in Letterkenny for this six-week programme, with Business Studies teacher Nuala McCool acting as team leader.

Speaking about this exciting opportunity, school Principal Ciarán Mac Ruaidhrí said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students and we’re delighted that this programme is now available through the medium of Irish. Engaging in programmes like these solidify our commitment to total immersion in the Irish language into the future and gives equality of opportunity to students in Gaeltacht Schools. We’re really looking forward to this partnership with Optum.”

Business in the Community Ireland (BITC) is a movement for sustainable change in business. Its purpose is to inspire and enable businesses to bring about a sustainable, low carbon economy and a more inclusive society where everyone thrives.

It does this in three ways, one of which is its Business Action Programmes, and, in this case, Business Action in Education through which it’s World of Work Programme provides second year post-primary school students with an opportunity to meet employees from a local company in order to learn about the world of work.

There are now thirteen post-primary schools in Donegal involved in BITC education programmes.

Speaking about the development of an Irish language version of the programme, BITC’s Northwest Regional Coordinator (Donegal), Pamela Kearney, said, “We are delighted that the Optum – Gairmscoil Chú Uladh School Business Partnership in Donegal will deliver the Business in the Community ‘World of Work’ programme – ‘Saothar an tSaoil’ through the medium of Irish. This is a momentous occasion which will undoubtedly increase the students engagement in their current studies and equip them with valuable work-related transferable skills and knowledge.”

The programme dovetails with the Junior Cycle curriculum and it takes place at a time that suits the business during the school year with local flexibility in the content.

Throughout the six-week programme the students will meet with the company, visit it to learn about what it does, talk to employees to find out more about their day to day working life and how they got their job, learn about various soft skills and present a short project to highlight their learning.

CEO of Optum Ireland Padraig Monaghan noted, “Optum Ireland is delighted to partner with Gairmscoil Chú Uladh and support this ‘Business in the Community’ initiative. As a major employer in the North West, our aim is to engage in a meaningful way with the community, and indeed the Gaeltacht community, and provide valuable insights into the world of work and pathways into a diverse range of careers. Our Optum team based in Letterkenny, will be the first in Ireland to deliver the programme through Irish which will compliment the students’ immersion education and highlight the relevance of the language in a global corporate setting.”

You can keep up to date on the student’s progress on Gairmscoil Chú Uladh’s Facebook page. Further information on Business in the Community Ireland can be found on their website (

Update 16 March 2022: Listen back to Highland Radio’s ‘Business Matters’ podcast here to hear an interview about the programme.