Loughrea company champions people through multicultural workforce and links with Chernobyl

Loughrea company, Neylons Facility Management, is putting itself and its staff on the map with its unique “Academy for Growth”.

Founded by Sylvester Neylon in 2004 as a cleaning company, Neylons has become an established national provider of contract facility management services, and it now offers a full range of facility management from catering to caring, cleaning to security.

The company, which employs more than 500 people, set up the Neylons Academy for Growth in 2014. The only one of its kind in Europe in a business of this size, it invests in staff development and promoting people from within the company. The academy ranges from operational elements, such as project planning and budgeting, to soft skills, such as performance and behavioural management.

The Neylons workforce is a cultural melting pot of nationalities and cultures, with their workforce coming from across Ireland, eastern Europe and Ukraine.

In its first year, the company took five staff through its academy. Interest grew among the staff as they saw the benefits and promotions the pilot programme offered. All participants qualified and became managers for some of the most prestigious facilities in Ireland. Year two they took on 12 staff, and now in its fifth year they have 22 participants - more than 70 in total.

Maria Sava, newly appointed CEO, delivers part of the programme, which is funded solely by the company. Originally seven, there are now 12 modules delivered over a one-year period. All participants travel to Loughrea headquarters once a month for their training, with all trainee managers contributing enormously to the growth and success of the company.

Chernobyl Children

The academy is also linked with Chernobyl Children International, which the company has been supporting for more than 10 years with some staff members having already been involved with the CCI’s rest and recuperation programme

Neylons supports a group of children who travel to Loughrea to stay with families twice a year, and because the same children return every year, their personal development and general health improves dramatically.

All of Neylons’ employees voluntarily donate 20 cent of their wages each week, and the company matches the donation, allowing this initiative to provide funds for the Adi Roche run foundation.

The initiative does not stop at a financial donation. The children come to visit the sites Neylons run around the country and visit Neylons staff. It is a boost of morale for both the Neylons team and the children.

Sylvester Neylon says the experience with CCI has given him a different perspective on day to day living, both personally and in business.

“I can honestly say it is the single proudest day in my Neylons’ journey when Adi [Roche] came to the graduation to instill the importance of people development.

“For everyone who attended the event, a human connection was made. It did not matter what culture or background they came from, we all saw the importance of investing in people,” he said.

More than 500 people celebrated Neylons Academy for Growth at a special graduation event on Friday in Loughrea.

Special guest Adi Roche describes Neylons is a “bright-shining beacon of example of corporate social responsibility”.

“These awards reflect Neylon’s values of personal endeavour, co-operation, striving upward and forward, but also acknowledgment of responsibility within your own community. These awards recognise the importance of a different ‘set of learning’ other than intense academic achievement. It is an education about the wider world.

“I have seen great sadness and despair in Chernobyl, but most of all I have seen great hope, spirit and inspiration by wonderful work being done by ordinary people like Neylons, thanks to their fundraising efforts and incredible generosity. Sylvester and the Neylon family have even opened their own hope to give refuge to children of Chernobyl, sharing with these vulnerable children the message of hope.”

From the Ukraine and Neylons Academy, graduate Olga Spirgulevich says the academy has changed her life.

“Anca, my mentor, offered me a place in the academy. When I went the first time, I was not sure, I had a lot of fears and insecurities. I remembered what happened in my life before. I thought everyone would laugh and would humiliate me.

“A few years ago, I had left home, I left three small children,with hope for the best. But everything was not so good. Working in a mushroom farm, they mocked us even worse. In pursuit of happiness and a better job, nothing had changed. I gave up on faith and hope in a good life.

“A few years later, I accidentally started in Neylons and here I feel they believe in me, that they trust me. I really want to thank Sylvester, Maria, Sandra, Ciara, who helped me to become another person….they changed my life.

“The academy divided my life into two parts, before and after the academy. I’m sure that I’m not the only one. Thank you very much to everyone who created the academy. I received not only teachings, work, but also power, faith in myself. I would like more and more people being like you and a lot more academies. I bow before you!!”

For more information or to make a donation www.chernobyl-international.com

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