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European Vocational Skills Week
News announcement29 August 2019Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

From concept and design to production and distribution


I was made redundant when Waterford Crystal ceased trading. I had to refocus and decide how I would generate an income, to ensure financial independence for the future.

I started on the Vocation Training and Opportunity Scheme – Start Your Own Business (VTOS – S.Y.O.B) programme with Waterford Wexford Training Services, based at Kilmacthomas (Waterford) in 2016. At that stage, my gourmet butter was just an idea. I took my idea from concept and design to production and distribution.

The Irish Gourmet Butter brand has become very well known in the artisan butter market and is distributed throughout Ireland. I also export to Northern Ireland. In my first year in college, I entered my product into the Irish Food Awards – Blas na hEireann – and received a silver award. In 2018, I again was a finalist at the awards.

I recently met with an E.U. delegation from Brussels, led by Ellen de Coster. The Education and Training Boards Ireland (EBTI) hosted the ESF project, Entrepreneurial training in the 21st century in Dublin.

Billy Sharpe, V.T.O.S Student and founder of Irish Gourmet Butter, Ireland


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