Karen Campbell

BBS (Hons) MSc in Marketing Practice

Karen Pass any number of cars on the road and you’ll find parts inside made by Irish Pressings in Gweedore, Co. Donegal. The company supplies pressed parts, welded assemblies and press tools to the automotive trade. In this heavily regulated industry, big names like BMW and Nissan, use components supplied by Irish Pressings because of their high standards of manufacturing and quality. In fact, the company has just won a major supplier award from Honda. Karen Campbell from Falcarragh is Sales and Logistics Manager at Irish Pressings.

She is emphatic that quality is recognised worldwide, not only in the automotive industry but in education also. “Just because you go to college or work in the NW of Ireland doesn’t mean you’re not employable globally or you can’t deliver the highest quality. In fact, due to the calibre of the courses at LYIT, I’d say more so.” Her main role is to source business and to communicate with customers on current and new projects.
“I could be talking to companies in Europe one day and assessing the materials we need thenext. The job is broad ranging and interesting.”

Karen studied Business at LYIT as a mature student. “It was the best thing I ever did. Even though I was 7 years older than most of the class I made fantastic friends.” With a young son to look after, she reveals, studying was a real juggling act and a life changing experience. By the time she graduated with a Business Studies Degree, Karen was hooked on education. She went on to do a Masters in Marketing Practice at LYIT, where she came first in her year and also won first prize in a competition sponsored by Donegal County Enterprise Board for her marketing plan on Irish Pressings, to boot.

One of the reasons Karen highly recommends LYIT is because of the exceptional teaching and the world class business courses. She says, “there’s a culture of learning and respect from everyone - Lecturers, Administrative Staff, Students Union.” Furthermore the subjects closely reflect industry and the structure of the courses encourage students to continue their learning outside class.

Through work placement on the Masters in Marketing Practice students are given a valuable opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in a business environment. Karen was matched with Irish Pressings, “I didn’t know a thing about manufacturing. It was a baptism of fire,” she laughs, “ It turned out to be a fabulous springboard for me.”

College is a chance to develop as a person and to gain the skills that will be essential in the future. In fact, skills like communication and presenting are incorporated across the board. “There’s an empathetic support system at LYIT. Lecturers make it their business to know how good you can be and encourage you along. They always have time for you.” Her advice to students is, “get the most from your time at college. Ask the questions, no matter how silly you think they are. That’s how you learn.”

So what’s next for Karen? “My future is here, I have a great job.” Irish Pressings now employs 68 people, when Karen started there were only 5. “I drive my son mad, name checking the cars that we make parts for and as the company is growing this is something that happens a lot more! There’s no doubt LYIT helped me get to where I am today and I’m loving it.”