Further Education and Training (FET) October 2023 Issue 5
In this Issue:Spotlight on Resources; an update from the FET Sector including Graduation celebrations and WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Winners.
Read on for these and lots more!
The Digital Library Assignment Calculator
When a learner is first given a piece of course work to do – an assignment - at college, it can be quite a daunting prospect – not only having to do the work, but also organising and scheduling it. Planning an assignment can help in several ways; it gives some focus on what’s required, creates a structure and provides a timescale for completion. By creating and following an assignment plan, learners’ work will be better prepared, written and marked (hopefully!). But what is the structure of an assignment plan?
Recently, the Digital Library has added an assignment calculator to its resource repertoire. Based on the original calculator created by Library of the University of Minnesota, the calculator takes the start date and due date of the assignment and breaks the required work into 8 different steps, with a suggested deadline for completing each step
Each step comes with a variety of suggestions, tips, tricks and tools with links to relevant digital library sections, downloadable templates and ebooks on essay & academic writing owned by the digital library.
Note that all assignments are different and that the calculator is advisory, but by breaking down the work into a series of smaller pieces, the calculator should be very useful to learners who want to plan their assignment work, but don’t know where to start.
The Support to Apprenticeship Group (SAG) is a community of practice comprising of representatives across all 16 ETBs with a cohort of staff from Adult Education, Adult Literacy, Training Centres and Education & Training Boards Ireland (ETBI). The aim of the SAG is to support apprentices with literacy, numeracy, study skills and IT. We share resources, online materials and best practice focusing on Phases 1 & 2 of Craft Apprenticeships. Some of these services are embedded on site in the training centre providing ease of access for apprentices. One of our key roles is to create relevant and meaningful resources that will improve the apprentice’s understanding of concepts needed for Phases 1 and 2 but also in their working lives.
An initial numeracy assessment was devised and is completed by apprentices during registration. In direct response to this, the SAG created a suite of Maths for Trades Handbooks for a variety of trades which are often used during numeracy support classes. These resources are publicly available on the ETBI Digital Library and can be found at https://library.etbi.ie/resources/numeracy/trades.
In addition to this, there are several trade-specific Study Skills Handbooks available to apprentices and development is constantly underway across all ETBs to create new and innovative resources that reach apprentices.
The SAG are overseen by Education & Training Boards Ireland. For more information, please contact SAG chairs at:
Cavan Institute together with Signer Songwriter, Don Mescall and Cavan Arts Office hosted the inaugural “Drumlinia”, Cavan’s Music Industry Week from 12-14 October 2023 in Cavan Institute.
This initiative aims to inform, encourage and enable connections for emerging musicians and those with more established careers in the music and media.
CMETB has recently opened a state of the art recording facility and radio studio in Cavan Institute, which complements existing resources already in place in Cavan Institute.
The event started with an ‘Industry Day’ on Thursday, 12 October, with all Cavan Institute’s Music and Sound Production Learners as well as members of the public in attendance.
Guest speakers spoke to Learners about topics associated within their expertise. Panellists included Dave Fanning, 2FM, Lottie Ryan, 2FM; Barbara Galavan, McGuinness Whelan Music; Chris Kelly, SONY Music Ireland; John Masterson, Journalist and PR Expert; Mick D’Arcy, IMRO; Alejandro Jara Weitzmann, Smart Republic and Mary Callery, Shinawil and formerly of RTÉ.
Day two of the event featured Music Industry Workshops in Cavan Institute, facilitated by renowned musicians who have paved a successful career in the music industry. Workshops included Vincent Macklin - Live Sound Set Up; Don Mescall – Songwriting Workshop; James Shannon – Guitar Chet Atkins Style; Michele Busdraghi – Film Score; Emanuele Contis – Saxophone; Emma King – Percussion; Paul Sherry – Guitar Solo; Daniele Russo – Drumming Workshop; Bazil Meade – Vocal Choir Workshop; Celine Byrne – Masterclass in Vocal Technique (limited places available).
The third and final day of festival featured ‘The Listening Rooms’, a music trail in Cavan town where a selection of venues hosted one singer / songwriter for a 20-minute slot. There was live recording on the day and a CD will be compiled of one song from each artist. One lucky artist will also be given the opportunity to record a song at Quivvy Church Studio under the guidance of Don Mescall.
This event demonstrated the importance of FET linking in with local and national industry and gave Learners in the Music, Drama and Media departments in Cavan Institute a great insight into the workings of the Music / Media Industry.
Newly appointed Director of Cavan Institute, Dr Niall McVeigh welcomed the initiative and thanked all the Industry leaders for coming to Cavan Institute to partake in what was a very successful event for all participants.
Photo from Left to right: Barbara Galavan, (Director, McGuinness Whelan Music Publishing Ltd.) Mike D'Arcy, (IMRO), Don Mescall, (Singer/Songwriter), Louise O’Reilly, (MC for the event), Lottie Ryan, (Podcaster, Irish TV & Radio Presenter), Dave Fanning, (Radio DJ/Television presenter/Rock journalist/Film Critic, Dr Niall McVeigh, (Newly appointed Director of Cavan Institute), Alejandro Jara Weitzmann, (CEO and Founder of Smart Republic) John Masterson, (Journalist, Broadcaster, Producer & PR Expert), Mary Callery, (Executive Producer at Shinawill)
Donegal ETB FET Student and Apprentice Amongst WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Competition Winners
Lee Davison (Buncrana), WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Welding competition winner and Martin Doherty (Cloghan), WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Heavy Vehicle Maintenance competition winner.
Lee Davison, WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Welding Competition winner and Cathal McGee, Donegal ETB Senior Welding Instructor and WorldSkills Ireland Expert in Welding and 2023 competition Chief Examiner.
There were two winners from Donegal amongst the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 competition winners announced in Dublin on 22 September.
Lee Davison from Buncrana won the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Welding competition, while Martin Doherty from Cloghan won the Heavy Vehicle Maintenance competition.
This follows three-day long competitions in the RDS, where they competed against some of the most talented young people in their fields from across the country.
Representing Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB), former Further Education and Training (FET) student Lee, who previously attended Crana College, completed basic, intermediate and coded pipe welding courses with Donegal ETB's FET Service. Martin, who is a former Gairmscoil Chú Uladh student, is undertaking his Heavy Vehicle Mechanic apprenticeship with Bus Éireann. Lee and Martin were awarded a Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Silver Medal for their efforts.
The Joinery competition was also won by a former Donegal ETB Carpentry and Joinery apprentice from Galway, Joe Kelly.
There was strong representation from Donegal ETB’s FET students and apprentices at this year’s WorldSkills Ireland competition.
Welding student and former Errigal College student Darren O Donnell from Lisnennan, Letterkenny, also competed in the welding competition, while apprentice Nathan Wray from Doonan, and a former Abbey Vocational School student, competed in the Carpentry competition. Two Convoy apprentices, Oran Taylor and Tyler Harkin, competed in the Electrical Installation (Oran) and Plumbing and Heating (Tyler) competitions.
Donegal Carpentry and Joinery apprentices Barry Ryan (from Dublin) and Richard McElwaine (from Monaghan) competed in the Joinery competition, while former Donegal ETB motor mechanics apprentice Patrick Aaron Martin from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan was also a WorldSkills Ireland 2023 competitor.
Another Donegal ETB apprentice, Diarmuid McCaughey, who is undertaking his Level 7 Manufacturing Engineering apprenticeship with Abbotts Diabetes Care in Donegal Town and is a 2023 Apprentice of the Year nominee, spoke about his apprenticeship journey on the Heroes stage at the event.
Donegal ETB staff were also involved in the skills showcase. Carpentry and Joinery Instructor Anthony O’Donnell was an examiner in the Joinery competition, while Donegal ETB’s Senior Welding Instructor Cathal McGee, who is also a WorldSkills Ireland Expert in Welding, was the Chief Examiner at the welding competition, leading a team of three examiners.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Opens Donegal ETB Further Education and Training Centre
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D., officially opened Donegal Education and Training Board’s Further Education and Training (FET) Centre on the Port Road in Letterkenny on Monday.
The building underwent extensive refurbishment in 2022 to create a low carbon emissions state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility in the heart of Donegal’s largest town. It now consists of nine rooms across two floors, including two IT suites and a science laboratory, with a capacity for 135 students.
The centre is also home to one of six Digital Hubs provided by Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) in the countywhich provide technology-enhanced learning support to staff and students.
Speaking at the opening,Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh said, “We are very proud of our new centre in the heart of Letterkenny. It is the result of a great deal of dedication and commitment to our students who deserve to learn in the highest quality surroundings that we can provide. That dedication comes from our Minister, is enabled by our funders SOLAS, but most of all from our FET staff on the ground who were so well assisted by our administrative and support teams every step of the way.”
Donegal ETB FET Staff Hear from Future of Work Expert
Leading future of work expert, Dr Oran Doherty was the keynote speaker at Donegal ETB’s professional development seminar for its Further Education and Training (FET) Service staff on 12 October. This was the first in-person professional learning and development event of this size for FET staff since 2019.
Dr Oran Doherty who is the Ibec Manager for the Apprenticeship in Retail Supervision Programme and has held several managerial positions responsible for the design and delivery of work-based learning programmes, spoke to staff on what the future of work looks like and what that means for skills development, asking “If we don’t know what the future skills are, we won’t understand what training we should be providing. What skills are employers really looking for?”
He explored trends in employment, highlighting the most in-demand jobs in Ireland and globally, along with the top five human skills for employers - collaboration and teamwork, accountability and reliability, reasoning and problem-solving, active learning and curiosity and resilience and adaptability (Manpower Planning, September 2023). Dr Doherty argued that an additional human skill of building relationships should also be considered, with all of this requiring a need to focus on transferable skills rather than skills disciplines. Human skills, along with digital skills and business acumen are key to the future of work.
Donegal ETB’s Regional Literacy Coordinator Adele McElhinny provided an overview of the FET Adult Literacy for Life (ALL) Strategy. She emphasised that literacy changes lives: “It affects everybody, every day. Anyone who has an unmet literacy need will experience social exclusion and feel isolated. Everyone, across every part of society, both professionally and personally, has a responsibility to help bridge the gap for people. As we go about our lives, we need to be literacy aware.”
The final speaker, Dr Bridgita Kelly, FET Programme Development Coordinator, spoke about Erasmus+ opportunities for students and staff which would, for example, allow students to apply soft skills learned in the classroom to an external environment.
Erasmus ApprEUnance Project Unveils Key Findings at Paris Education Conference
ApprEUnance project team
Edel Gavan, along with MSLETB Director Peter Egan and Shannon Cassells, represented Team MSLETB at the International Biennial of Education, Training, and Professional Practices Conference in Paris. This event presented initial research findings from the European "ApprEUnance" programme. They began with an overview of vocational training systems and shared their research outcomes.
Edel Gavan presented collaborative work by Siobhan Magner and Jessica Martin, focusing on the transformative potential of work-based learning within the ApprEUnance project. It emphasised creating positive learning environments, including formal induction, mentorship, technology integration, inclusivity, feedback, a culture of improvement, and celebrating achievements within work-based learning.
The ApprEUnance project, funded by Erasmus+, brought together six European countries—Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, France, Iceland, and Belgium—to compare work-based training programmes, share ideas, and build communities of practice over two years. It explored various work-based learning initiatives, including internships, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.
A comparative analysis of work-based training programmes in these countries highlighted strengths and areas for improvement within each vocational education system. MSLETB's Sales Apprenticeship programme was recognised as a model for empowering learning environments.
The project concludes in Slovenia in November, with an emphasis on improving the visibility and social standing of work-based learning in Europe through the development of a European Framework. This framework will shape the future of vocational education and training in Europe.
Twenty-four Donegal Apprentices Graduate
Twenty-four apprentices from Donegal were among a group of eighty-eight craft apprentices from across seventeen apprenticeship programmes who graduated at a ceremony on 13 October. An additional 124 apprentices, including twenty-four from Donegal who recently qualified, were unable to attend the ceremony due to employment and other commitments.
Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) and Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) presented the graduates with their certificates at a graduation ceremony in Letterkenny.
The graduates qualified in the following apprenticeships: Agricultural Mechanics, Carpentry and Joinery, Construction Plant Fitting, Electrical, Electronic Security Systems, Heavy Vehicle Mechanics, Instrumentation, Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitting, Motor Mechanics, Metal Fabrication, Plastering, Pipefitting, Plumbing, Wood Manufacturing and Finishing, Toolmaking, Stonecutting and Stonemasonry, and Vehicle Body Repairs.
Presenting the awards, Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh stated, “We are incredibly proud of all of our Apprentices today as they celebrate this milestone moment with family and friends. They have been further supported by Apprenticeship staff within their ETBs and of course by their employers. All of our stakeholders play such a vital role during the apprenticeship journey and today we salute all those who work so hard to prepare our Apprentices for their vital role in our economy.
Our Apprentices are extremely well prepared to work in Ireland where their skills are much in demand or indeed they now have a qualification which can take them anywhere they want to go. We wish them all well as they embark on this next phase of their career.”
88 MSLETB Apprentices Graduate
Sixty-four apprentices from Mayo, Sligo, and Leitrim were part of a group of eighty-eight craft apprentices from seventeen different apprenticeship programs who graduated at a ceremony on Friday, October 13th. An additional 124 apprentices who recently qualified were unable to attend the ceremony due to work and other commitments.
Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) and the Mayo, Sligo, and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) presented the graduates with their certificates at a graduation ceremony in Letterkenny on October 13th.
The graduates successfully completed apprenticeships in various fields, including Agricultural Mechanics, Carpentry and Joinery, Construction Plant Fitting, Electrical, Electronic Security Systems, Heavy Vehicle Mechanics, Instrumentation, Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitting, Motor Mechanics, Metal Fabrication, Plastering, Pipefitting, Plumbing, Wood Manufacturing and Finishing, Toolmaking, Stonecutting and Stonemasonry, and Vehicle Body Repairs.
We would like to congratulate our graduates and wish them all the best in their future careers and endeavors. Their success is a testament to the dedication and hard work that our apprentices have given to these programmes. We look forward to seeing their continued growth.
Minister Simon Harris Visits Sligo College of Further Education to Meet the First Class of Nursing Tertiary Degree Students
Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education and Training Board and Sligo College of Further Education (SCFE) welcomed Minister Simon Harris, the Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science, to the Clarion Rd. campus to meet the inaugural class of tertiary degree students in General Nursing.
Minister Harris, known for his unwavering commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for all, took the time to engage with the students who are part of this groundbreaking initiative. The tertiary degree programme, developed in collaboration with Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board (ETB), Donegal ETB and Galway Roscommon ETB, has provided a unique pathway for students to pursue higher education without relying on the traditional Central Applications Office (CAO) points system.
During his visit, Minister Harris learned more about the diverse backgrounds and aspirations of these students. The Tertiary Access Route into Bachelor of Science (Honours) in General Nursing, has attracted individuals from various walks of life, all sharing a common goal of advancing their education and career prospects.
Minister Harris commended the students for their determination and emphasised the importance of widening access to higher education. He remarked, "These students are trailblazers, pioneers of a new era in education. Their commitment to learning and their pursuit of knowledge serves as an inspiration to us all. The tertiary degree programs are a testament to our collective dedication to making education more accessible, removing barriers, and fostering a more inclusive society."
The Minister's visit also provided an opportunity to highlight the successful collaboration between ATU and MSLETB, Donegal ETB and Galway Roscommon ETB as they joined virtually to meet the Minister. Together, they have created innovative access routes that empower students and enable them to embark on their higher education journeys. Three other tertiary degree programmes have been developed, these include Bachelor of Science in Industrial Laboratory Science, Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Business, Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Sustainable Engineering Technologies.
Minister Harris announces significant capital investment in further education and training services in Sligo
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, has announced funding for an exciting project at the Further Education and Training Centre (FET) located on Quay Street in Sligo town.
Minister Harris emphasised the importance of investing in educational facilities to enhance the overall learning experience. This funding represents another significant step in the department's dedication to bolstering capital infrastructure in the further education and training sector, with a particular focus on Sligo.
The investment will support the Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) in refurbishing and reconfiguring the existing center, transforming it into a modern campus that will become an integral part of the Sligo College of FET. This expansion will not only improve the learning environment for students but also provide a wider range of full-time, part-time, and evening courses.
The Quay Street FET Centre is one of six locations benefiting from the next phase of capital investment under the Further Education and Training (FET) Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund.
Minister Harris expressed his optimism that this development will allow the college to broaden its offerings to students and elevate the overall learner experience. He commended MSLETB and the entire FET community for their dedication to providing diverse educational opportunities.
Funding for this project will be channeled through SOLAS to Mayo Sligo Leitrim ETB. The next steps involve appointing a design team and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to refine the project's scope.
Andrew Brownlee, Chief Executive of SOLAS, noted that this capital investment in the Quay Street Further Education and Training Centre is a significant milestone, benefiting learners in the town and advancing FET facilities and provision nationwide.
Tom Grady, Chief Executive of Mayo Sligo Leitrim ETB, expressed his pride in the collective effort that secured this funding for the Quay Street Further Education and Training Centre. He emphasised the transformative impact this investment will have on the community, creating an inclusive and innovative learning environment and providing learners with valuable skills and opportunities for the future.
Triumph of Collaboration: The Further Education and Training (FET) Sector Glitters at WorldSkills Ireland in Sep 2023
The Further Education and Training (FET) Sector in Ireland proudly showcased our programmes at the annual WorldSkills Ireland event held in RDS Dublin.
This year's event was significant for the FET Sector as it marked the remarkable collective collaboration of the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs), supported by SOLAS and Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI). This collective effort provided the FET Sector with a platform to exemplify its commitment to our learners, and to excellence, innovation, and skill development.
WorldSkills Ireland is a partnership that brings enterprise, industry, education, training, and government together to promote the recognition and importance of skills and apprenticeships in Ireland. The event features apprenticeship competitions and celebrates the skills and talents of Ireland's future workforce across various disciplines like construction, engineering, IT, and hospitality.
The FET Sector's participation at WorldSkills underscored its dedication to nurturing skills and its significant contributions to building careers and a highly skilled workforce. The collaboration of the 16 ETBs highlighted their collective strength and vision for the future. By combining resources, knowledge, and expertise, the ETBs projected a powerful identity that demonstrates how the FET Sector can cater to Ireland's emerging talent by offering diverse and enriching training and learning experiences.
This collaborative effort further emphasises the FET Sector's pivotal role in the Irish apprenticeship and Further Education and Training systems. Events like WorldSkills Ireland underscore the importance of fostering skills, nurturing innovation, and preparing students and adult learners for a competitive and ever-evolving job market. It also provides us with the opportunity to highlight how the FET Sector can equip individuals with the skills they need to succeed in a fast-paced and demanding labour market, further solidifying its essential role in shaping Ireland's future workforce
Mayo, Sligo, and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) were well-represented at WorldSkills Ireland with apprentices participating in competitions across many fields of learning. These included Craft Butchery, Joinery, Carpentry, Industrial Control, Architectural Stonemasonry, Automobile Technology, Construction Plant Fitting, Digital Infrastructure and Mechanics competitions.
MSLETB has winners in the following competitions; Kieran Finnerty (Architectural Stonemasonry), James Etherson (Craft Butchery), Sean Doyle (Digital Infrastructure), and Gary Golden (Industrial Mechanics) and we look forward to supporting them in their quest for the gold medal at the 47th WorldSkills taking place in Lyon, France in September 2024.
One of the most popular stands on the day was the Commis Chef “Try-a-Skill" demonstration which was facilitated by MSLETB’s Commis Chef Apprenticeship Team, Eileen Buchanan, Rory Culkin and Shelia Flynn. Students from across the country participated in cookie decorating with the end results creating a large WorldSkills student cake. Minister for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, tried his hand at decorating some cookies aided by our own Glitter Fairy Shelia Flynn!
Our team also created the infamous WorldSkills cake which represented many of the different apprenticeships available in Ireland.
Overall, a great 3-day event.
KERRY ETB & KERRY COLLEGE COMPETITORS SHINE BRIGHTLY AT WORLD SKILLS IRELAND 2023
Kerry Education and Training Board (ETB) and Kerry College made an impressive mark at the World Skills Ireland 2023 competition, showcasing their excellence across various skills competitions and career-focused initiatives. Leading 3 skills competitions in Beauty Therapy, Architectural Stonemasonry and Industrial Mechanics, holding an examiner post in the Commis Chef competition, and exhibiting at the THIS IS FET career village and Green Skills stand with their Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship.
Apprentice Mairéad Faherty who is working as a Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician with global company Siemens Gamesa gave a talk on the ‘Heroes Stage’.
Kerry College's Broadcast Production Skills course led by Brian Nolan operated a live TV Studio during the event, directed by former RTE Director Theo O’Grady and featuring daily live broadcasts presented by Kerry College graduate, Radio Kerry's Brendan Fuller.
Silver Medal Winners
Kerry ETB/Kerry College came home with two prestigious Silver Medals:
Kieran Finnerty – OPW Apprentice, Stonecutting & Stonemasonry Apprenticeship Silver Medal in Architectural Stonemasonry
Ciara O'Sullivan – Learner, Beauty Therapy, Silver Medal in Beauty Therapy
In addition to the Silver Medal winners, Kerry ETB and Kerry College celebrated the accomplishments of other talented individuals:
Padraig O'Doherty – MAMF Apprentice at Torc Engineering, Killarney Runner-Up in Industrial Mechanics
Alison O'Sullivan – Commis Chef Apprentice at Killarney Park Hotel, Runner-Up in Cookery
A special mention goes to Plumbing Competition Winner Frank Moffit, who completed his Phase 2 Plumbing training at Monavalley.
ETBI Active Inclusion Unit Attend Launch of
“My Journey from the Back of the Class”
The Inclusion Unit visited Horse and Jockey, Co. Tipperary along with colleagues from Tipperary ETB for the launch of “My Journey from the Back of the Class”, a book authored by Liam Cleere.
Liam returned to formal education within Tipperary ETB after 39 years with only basic literacy skills. Ten years later he proudly launched his fist book surrounded by family, friends and tutors and inspired the whole theatre.
A full schedule of seven FET Application (CAO) Briefing Sessions took place in early October which offered an overview of the project to date, developments and roadmap ahead of the reopening of the CAO Portal in November 2023.
The presentation and a recording of the session can be viewed here.
The FET Learner Mental Health and Wellbeing accreditation aims to recognise the work of staff and/or learners working throughout FET, by providing an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the projects and initiatives that promote the mental health and wellbeing of learners. The accreditation aims to invite submissions which showcase good practice through a combination of the following:
The promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing for all FET Learners.
The creation of learning environments consistent with the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing.
A full recording of the webinar, along with the presentation documentation and a FET resource pack are all available on the ETBI FET Digital Library: here.