Speaker for 17th March 2015

Photo: President John Graham greets Trevor Topping, with Club Members Ahmed Sharieff (L) and Peter FitzGerald (R)
Talk by Mr. Trevor Topping on ‘Promoting self-employment in the country, or “Toil and Trouble”’
The Club President, John Graham, welcomed members to the meeting. He then introduced our speaker for the morning, Mr. Trevor Topping, who worked for the Government of the Irish Republic as an enterprise officer promoting self employment in the country. Trevor gave an entertaining account of the time he spent in Inishowen, Co. Donegal setting up business training courses, encouraging people from unemployment into self-employment.

(It was a big area to work, but someone had to do it!!)

The short title of Trevor's talk was 'Toil and Trouble', which not only gave a clue to a lighter hearted look and a serious way of tackling unemployment, but also gave a fine 'plug' for the handbook Trevor had written to get claimants on the road to running their own business. This started life as a short leaflet when Trevor first began his job, but over the years it has grown into a 100 page A4 book - a copy of the latest edition of this book can be downloaded from the Club web site, just 'click' the link below.


During the talk, Trevor told the members how he became involved with Irish Enterprise Agency, the training he had, and much about the arrangements for benefits in the Republic. Trevor then took us through the process of interviewing claimants that wished to be considered for the scheme, the training they were given and the expectations of the scheme.

(Moville - one of the small towns self employment benefited)

Trevor thoroughly entertained the members with accounts of some of the more unusual 'home visits' and self-employment ideas would be applicants had presented him with. Although it was more common the have people wishing to be a self-employed Painter; Hairdresser; Carpenter; Beautician; Taxi Driver etc. etc. he had also had an Aircraft Pilot; A Falconer; A Reptile Breeder; and someone wanting to start a Pet Hotel - and why not? Thinking 'outside the box' shows a bit of 'get-up-and-go', surely!

(Not all the area was so easy to convince - if you found anyone that is!)

Although Trevor's work sounded a lot of fun, there was also a serious and successful side to it (and perhaps it was a success BECAUSE it was FUN? - WebEd). The results showed that, on average, after three years over 85% of the schemes were still running in Inishowen, compared to under 65% in the rest of Ireland.

(Did anyone try for ‘Self-Employed Golfer?!?!)

There was just time for a short Q and A session before Peter FitzGrerald proposed the vote of thanks for the truly entertaining and informative talk Trevor had given us, and also for the way he had improved the quality of the singing at Ballymoney Male Voice Choir since he joined!? The President passed on the thanks (for the talk, wasn't sure about the singing!) and the members showed their appreciation.

Mike Turner - Club Admin

For more information about Inishowen, 'click' the logo below: