Ireland’s Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D., has today announced the award of €833,333 in funding to South East Technological University (SETU) for the provision of higher education courses for service users at Tiglin and other addiction treatment centres in the region.
Tiglin opened its doors in 2008 with its first residential rehabilitation centre for men in Wicklow, followed by additional centres including the women’s centre at Brittas Bay in subsequent years, to provide rehabilitation programmes for people affected by drug and alcohol addiction and homelessness to support them in creating a life beyond addiction.
Its services take a holistic approach that not only address addiction issues but aim to equip people to return to life in society with confidence. This includes facilitating educational and training opportunities to service users.
SETU, through its Faculty of Lifelong Learning, began collaborating with Tiglin in 2016 to deliver supportive and engaging educational programmes to advance access to higher education and to better support reintegration into society with appropriate skills.
This award of HEA funding will enable SETU and Tiglin to co-create a suite of micro-credentials and build courses specific to the needs of those on the Tiglin recovery programme, embedding those awards within the programme itself to create conditions for connectedness with the community that are vital for long-term success.
Professor Veronica Campbell, President of SETU, said the award would “scaffold the development of new initiatives to provide higher education and employment pathways for service users at Tiglin and other rehabilitation centres in the South East and complements a broader suite of initiatives in SETU around inclusive higher education for all”.
Addiction is one of the greatest societal challenges facing Ireland today with the most recent national survey data from 2019-2020 showing the prevalence of alcohol use disorder in the general adult population was 14.8%. A key part of that is to empower those in recovery with the confidence and resilience to face the challenges of progressing through higher education and beyond. This in turn strengthens an individual’s role in society as they gain core transferable skills as lifelong learners.
Dr Joseph Collins, Head of Faculty of Lifelong Learning at SETU’s Carlow Campus, commented, “At SETU we have always believed in reaching beyond our walls and connecting with communities in ways that are novel, challenging and impactful. By being proactive and working with Tiglin, we created the opportunity for learners to enter higher education for the first time and in delivering on site at Tiglin, we have opened up a world of possibilities and a brighter future of those participating in the Tiglin addiction recovery programme.”