Making the most of a simple slate

In the middle of Ireland’s recession, it’s good to see young people coming up with new ideas and learning to start up their own business.

In the middle of Ireland’s recession, it’s good to see young people coming up with new ideas and learning to start up their own business.

Four Transition Year (TY) students from Clonaslee College are the type of young people the country needs.

Brian Doyle, Cormac White, Joseph Shelly, and Diarmuid Dunne have been working on an idea for a business project as part of the Min-Company in Schools Programme.

The students want to make decorative roof slates with a sporting theme. They have come up with a way to put an image of a team or sports person who have been successful on a slate.

The students believe their product can be memory of a sporting achievement and could be given to anyone involved in a team be they players, coaches, or even supporters.

While they were brainstorming ideas for the mini-company, their teacher, Tommy Spollen, came forward with a slate, decorated with a picture, which had been fused onto it.

The lads all liked the product, and so they then came up with the idea of putting the lineout of teams onto the slate.

Mr Spollen went to his local GAA club, who he also plays for, and proposed the idea to his teammates.

He got a great response and some of his teammates said they would buy a slate.

The four students had to go and find out how to make the slates.

Firstly put a mixture of glue and water onto the slate, and then put it into an oven. This process cures and seals the slate, as well as making it slightly smoother on the surface. They then take a piece of paper with the lineout of the team printed out onto it, and put it sitting on the slate. Again a mixture of glue and water is put on top, over the paper, and this is then left to dry over time. The paper should then be sealed onto the slate and look slightly aged in appearance.

The four students hope their idea could ultimately be selected to represent Laois at the Student Enterprise Awards in Dublin, where mini-companies are put on show and judged, and awards are then presented to the best groups in different categories.

Every year, TY students take part in the mini-company project, coming up with ideas for new companies, and setting up the company themselves. The four students from Clonaslee wanted to think up an idea that would be successful, and would sell well, making a bit of money.

The teacher showed a class a video of last year’s Student Enterprise Awards, and everyone got to see how successful some ideas became, like the red sticker which went on the sole of a high heel shoe, giving the impression they were a designer label.

The sticker was a big hit and became very popular in America. Inspired by seeing how a good idea can be so successful, the four started straight away at brainstorming ideas, and seeing what would be possible to do.