Meet the team behind EiSHT – a start-up strengthening young people’s soft skills

EiSHT is a social enterprise created by a team of management professionals and avid volunteers who together possess years of experience in recruiting, training and developing young people. Caroline O’Connor initially came up with the idea in January en route back from an event with Naas No Name! Club.  What began as a means of helping young people achieve their goals in getting their first summer jobs has evolved and adapted to what the market seeks.  It has become a programme to help arm young people with the skills, competence and self-awareness required to adapt to the rapidly evolving workplace.  “We want you to have the skills, confidence and competency to be the High Potential Leaders of the future and to realise your superpowers”. 

EiSHT was born – Emotionally intelligent, Skilled, Happy Teens – from paying attention to the recurring concerns of teenagers and young adults under 25 and of recruiters, trainers and managers of under 25s.

What sets this programme apart is that it is founded on the core pillars of employability, professionalism, self-awareness, gratitude and social citizenship.  It focusses on soft skills, which are not part of the second level curriculum, to build resilience and adaptability going into third level and beyond.  It will be delivered through a combination of self-organised learning on their online platform, psychometrics, workshops, and coaching.  “Where we are in the 4th industrial revolution, this programme will help to secure the options and opportunities for young people in the humanisation of work”.

Caroline O’Connor was elevated to the Short Term Enterprise Allowance in the summer.  Intreo supported her completion of that programme and enabled her to come to Trinity via Springboard to join Tangent on the PgC in Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  “It’s been an avalanche of progress and proved that once you make the first terrifyingly challenging decision, everything else starts to fall into place and so many doors have opened”.  Caroline, mother of two, has over 20 years’ experience in hospitality and FMCG.  She has been involved with No Name! Club since senior secondary school and has run the Naas club for the past four years. 

The organisation works with TY to 6th year students on a programme of social confidence without peer pressure of alcohol and other drugs.  Conor Dalgarno is the web designer, developer and technical genius behind EiSHT.  One of the first .IE registrars, Conor works with start-ups consistently through this ownership of Silkweb Group.  Aside from being a classic car owner and enthusiast, he is the voluntary director of youth rugby with Navan RFC.  Aoife Sheehy is their coach, mentor and psychometrics whiz from their partners in Thomas International.  Aoife was on the UCC Ignite Incubator with her previous employer and is fellow volunteer of No Name! Club.  Caroline brought the team together with their shared core drive to make a social imprint and improve opportunities for young people.

Partnerships with Thomas International, Dulann.com, Silkweb Group and John Murray Headshots have propelled this idea into a fully supported, scalable solution.  The team is charging on, with help from the TES team & Incubator, the Tangent team and others.  The next stage includes rolling out further trials in second level education and development of the web platform.  The whole programme is scalable and can be exported – the key for the team is to continue to prototype and reiterate each stage of the process to its customers. Results from trials have so far proved that the team is set to make EiSHT a social success. 

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