26
Apr

60 SECONDS WITH DR MOYA O’BRIEN, FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF ICEP EUROPE

 

ICEP Europe (Institute of Child Education and Psychology Europe) was founded in 2001 and provides online education to teachers, psychologists and other professionals internationally. ICEP Europe’s Continuing Professional Development courses include Positive Psychology, Positive Behaviour, Literacy, Numeracy, Dyslexia, Autism, Applied Behaviour Analysis and Down Syndrome. ICEP Europe are approved Providers in NSW with NESA (previously BOSTES) and all courses are delivered online via user-friendly and state-of-the-art technology.

Dr Moya O’Brien recently presented at PESA (Positive Education Schools Association) Annual Conference in Geelong, Victoria 11-14 April 2018. Moya’s workshop focused on the importance of nature in building resilience and wellbeing in young people. Both Dr Moya and ICEP Europe co-founder Dr. Deirdre MacIntyre are clinical psychologists with over 20 years’ experience in their respective fields.

What first motivated you to establish ICEP Europe?

ICEP Europe was founded as a direct result of the drive towards inclusion in classrooms, which created a requirement for high quality, professional development training for teachers in the area of special educational needs. With advancements in web technologies it became apparent that the training was best delivered in an online format, allowing teachers to complete it in their own time moderated by experienced tutors.

We started out as a campus company with the UCD now NOVA programme. And what makes us unique is our courses are not just evidence–based but also practical providing vital skills and strategies for working with more diverse students in the classroom. We are now a global company with over 25,000 educators from over 60 countries worldwide having graduated from our courses.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Surviving and thriving! Like most businesses we faced challenges during the worst economic downturn in Ireland in recent years. We survived by diversifying and seeking partnerships to develop University accredited provision.  We currently have students from 40 countries studying online for a Masters in Special Needs with our partner the University of East London.

We also have secured a number of large EU Commission-funded research projects. And we are continuing to develop our positive psychology programs, and these are attracting educators from all over the globe.

What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

With Brexit looming we need to expand into the company internationally and want to increase our sales in the Australian market. There are a number of drivers in this market including the requirement for teachers to complete professional development. We are perfectly suited to serving an international student base as all our courses are online and self-paced.

In the research for your professional development courses what are some of the new areas that you are looking for course content?

There are a number of areas we are working on at present – one is the links between nature connection and resilience in children. Another is the area of Universal Design for Learning. This is a concept borrowed from architecture and applied to learning examines how all students can access the curriculum using creativity and flexibility across learning and assessment.

What do you think are the key cultural challenges for Irish businesses in Australia?

From my experiences to date in the Australian market I’ve found the approach to doing business to be very direct. People want a price for a job, a delivery date and to make a quick decision. This is good as you know where you stand but can be a bit of a surprise at first.

The significant time difference between Europe and Australia presents more of a logistical challenge and can result in delays in responding to customers.

 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You are completely dispensable.

How do you relax?

I enjoy Iyengar Yoga, cooking and spending time with my family.

I took up cycling a couple of years ago. While in Australia as part of the Presidential Trade Mission, I completed the Spring Cycle 50 km last October around the suburbs of Sydney and across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Finally, if you could invite three people to dinner who would they be and why?

Katie Taylor – she has demonstrated resilience, grit and passion and has done much for Irish women in sport.

Julie Child – she could pick the restaurant, in Paris of course and I think the food, the wine and the chat about the food and wine would be very interesting.

Ai Weiwei, artist and activist- having seen his film/exhibition on Cockatoo Island, his work is thought provoking and focuses attention on the refugee crisis- I think he would be very observant, empathic and an interesting character.

 

For further information:

Contact: Daniel Spencer

E: daniel.spencer@enterprise-ireland.com

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