From Mayfield to international leadership: Cork student selected for prestigious programme

From Mayfield to international leadership: Cork student selected for prestigious programme

Denis Leamy, CEO at Cork Education and Training Board; Scott Byrne, FET (Further Education and Training) student and Washington Ireland Programme (WIP) 2021 class member; Judy O’Brien, FET student and WIP 2021 class member; and Anna Jakobek, FET student and WIP 2021 class member.

CORK student Anna Jakobek is celebrating after being accepted on the Washington Ireland Programme (WIP), a summer educational programme that begins on Monday.

The 19-year-old student is looking forward to beginning the prestigious WIP which is held every summer.

“It is a leadership course that is designed for emerging leaders on the island of Ireland. It will be an amazing opportunity as I am very interested in a career in business. 

Normally they would fly out a class to Washington, but this year it will be held online. Going to Washington would have been an amazing experience but I am thrilled to have been offered a place on this course,” she said.

The prestigious Ireland-US leadership development programme usually involves 30 third-level education students per year. Making the best of current circumstances, the programme has expanded to 108 and, for the first time, also includes students with caring responsibilities who would not usually travel to the United States and those studying part-time courses.

The class of 2021 will not travel state-side but will engage in a hybrid programme of work placements with prestigious international companies.

Ms Jakobek, who was born in Poland and moved to Ireland when she was four, said participating in the WIP will be very beneficial for her career prospects.

“It will be held over June and July. In August there will be a break before review classes begin in September. I had to go through a process before I was offered a place. Washington will be very good on my CV and for networking in general. It will be beneficial in terms of getting work experience and getting a job down the line.

“I genuinely think I have done all the right things to get to the place where I really want to be. I have exciting opportunities ahead."

The Cork teenager is currently studying at Mayfield Community Training Centre. She is very grateful to all involved with the centre for helping her to “grow”.

Cork student Anna Jakobek is currently studying at Mayfield Community Training Centre.
Cork student Anna Jakobek is currently studying at Mayfield Community Training Centre.

“I am currently doing my Level 4 in the training centre. I will be finishing up there very soon. It is an amazing place to be, especially for somebody who had to, unfortunately, quit secondary school. All the staff are so welcoming and nice. Everybody treated me like an adult and they put my education into my own hands.

“You go at your own pace which is a huge thing for many people because some people get overwhelmed with the regular education system.

“Mayfield Community Training Centre has been a great stepping stone for my education and I am really grateful. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“I went from being someone who dropped out of secondary school to finding Mayfield Community Training Centre. They gave me the opportunity to grow and do something I love, which is studying,” she added.

When Anna completes her WIP, she will start a business course at the Cork College of Commerce in September. She has big academic plans going forward.

“I can’t wait to start this course. After I complete this course, I want to go to London and attend university there. I am determined to succeed. I would love to go into business administration and become a CEO or a director down the line. I want a job where I can combine work and travel.”

Never too late 

Anna, who now resides in Glanmire, has advice for students who are currently struggling with the system or contemplating giving up.

“Education is really important. Getting to where I am today wasn’t easy. Until a few months ago I was a secondary school dropout desperately waiting for someone to see my potential.

“It is never too late to start over and take a different route to make your dreams a reality. I would urge people to just hang in there and be patient. Even if you have to diverge from the pack, there is always a route you will find. If you really want something just go for it,” she added.

Washington Ireland Program launches largest ever 2021 Class featuring over 100 diverse young leaders 

 Over 100 young leaders from across Northern Ireland and Ireland have been selected for the Washington Ireland Program’s largest ever Class, which launches today.

The prestigious Ireland-US leadership development programme usually involves 30 third-level education students per year. Making the best of current circumstances, the Program has expanded to 108 and, for the first time, also includes students with caring responsibilities who would not usually travel to the United States and those studying part-time courses.

Since 1995, the Washington Ireland Program (WIP) has enabled over 750 young leaders across the island of Ireland to work in the likes of the US Congress and Senate while staying with an American host family in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Previous students have interned in the offices of then Senators Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. Prior to arrival at the White House, the Program has been applauded by President Joe Biden in 2016 as an example of the “special” relationship between Ireland and America and praised by the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.

The Program seeks students who demonstrate leadership potential, have a strong track record of service, and are committed to build a bright future for the island of Ireland. Notable Program alums include the Tánaiste and former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.  A range of business leaders have also taken part in the programme.

The Class of 2021 will not travel state-side but will engage in a hybrid programme of work placements with prestigious international companies, learn from WIP’s renowned leadership development curriculum, and meet with senior global leaders in Dublin and Belfast before graduating in September. The diversity of the 2021 Class reflects the programme’s continued commitment to support and develop students from all backgrounds across Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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