#SavvyTeenAcademy Graduate Interview

Sorcha O'Connor

Define 'savvy' for me: Sorcha O'Connor interviews #SavvyTeenAcademy graduates Aoife and Niamh about their experience of the programme.

When Savvy Teen graduates Aoife and Niamh were initially signed up for the Academy they had little knowledge - or interest - in what it was all about. I remember my sister Niamh joking they weren't even sure what being 'savvy' meant!

The initiative is the brainchild of Susan HayesCulleton and Monica Murphy, a week long programme that concentrates on careers, communication and confidence for teenagers - and by week's end, Aoife and Niamh agreed that being savvy meant quite a lot of things to them: being self-aware, being able to communicate with others and to plan confidently for the future.

"I heard about #SavvyTeenAcademy from my cousin Niamh, who, like me, didn't have a clue what it was about," explained Aoife.

"Our parents told us it would be a great opportunity and that we would really benefit from it - so naturally we initially thought it would be a long boring week of uninteresting lectures that we wouldn't understand or enjoy!"


Both girls were apprehensive about the programme but Niamh explained that they soon realised they weren't alone.

"On the first day we realised we were in the same boat as everyone. None of us really knew what to expect," said Niamh.

Looking back on her Savvy Teen experience, Aoife admits that she hadn't opened her mind to the possibilities the week had in store at first.

"We started off with the wrong attitude," said Aoife.

"But by the end of the week we had learned body language and how to read it, along with other communicational skills which I found really interesting and helpful.Two Smiling Teenage Girls

I had a great week by the end of it all and both of us wished we had longer."

Positive Outcomes

The course does not aspire to be a grade-booster for school but a confidence booster which equips teens with what they need to know to begin achieving their goals. Graduates learn to write a CV, to communicate better, to study more effectively, to work as a team and to speak in public - ultimately, the Academy gives teens the tools they need to live the life they want to live.

"We learned a lot of life skills that are very important yet very basic, that I feel I wouldn't have learned anywhere else," said Aoife.

During the programme, guests such as Dublin footballer Ger Brennan and Live Life Foundation founder Fionbarr Walsh, father of Donal Walsh, visited the group.

"The talks from people like Fionbarr Walsh gave me a new perspective on things," said Niamh.

"While I always knew to live life to the fullest, I was inspired to always try my best in all I do in future," she said.

Interview by Sorcha O'Connor

#SavvyTeenAcademy teaches an amazing array of essential skills that will give teenagers the confidence to build their future and mentors Susan and Monica are well-established in helping get the best out of young attendees.

Susan HayesCulleton is an economist, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), public speaker and business owner. She is the co-author of Positive Economics, the market-leading Leaving Cert Economics textbook; she is also the author of The Savvy Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom and The Savvy Guide to Making More Money. Susan is also known as #ThePositiveEconomist.

Monica Murphy is founder of MONERE Development Services. She has travelled the world to show multinationals how to bring out the best in their staff. She completed a Masters in Education & Learning Management and wrote a thesis on how to use positive psychology to boost performance at work.

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