Primary school pupils across Donegal have been given a headstart on the business world in a new initiative undertaken by Donegal County Council.
Employees volunteered to step back into the classroom to explain the merits of the Junior Achievement programmes to both primary and secondary-level pupils.
The volunteers spent up to eight weeks with pupils in Bridgend, Carndonagh, Lifford and Letterkenny to help develop their knowledge of business and enterprise in the local community.
In primary school, children were taught the basic concepts of business and how education is relevant in the workplace.
Activities were designed to prepare students for secondary education and lifelong learning.
Secondary school programmes focused on developing the students' interpersonal skills and fostering an enterprise culture.
Students gained a deeper understanding of teamwork, decision-making, creativity, communication skills and the importance of confidence.
Karen Wilhare of Junior Achievement today praised the council workers for their input.
She said: "The employees have been so committed to giving a helping hand to the young people in the local community."
Miss Wilhare added: "The feedback from all involved is extremely positive and we really believe that the programmes are having a very positive impact on the minds of the young people it is targeted at."
In the 2005/06 school year, 23 employees from Donegal County Council delivered programmes to over 550 children.
Both partners are now preparing for another successful year in Donegal and are hoping to increase in the number of participants in the coming year.
Junior Achievement Ireland is a non-profit organisation working as a partnership between the business community and the education sector, providing a range of enterprise programmes to young people aged five to 18 years.
The twin aims of Junior Achievement are to teach enterprise skills to young people and to target those at risk of early school leaving.