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Spotlight on Louth and Meath ETB

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Further Education and Training (FET) June 2022 Issue 1
In this Issue
  • A spotlight on Louth and Meath ETB including an award for DIFE, new funding for Dunboyne College and the launch of Robotic Welding at AMTCE.
  • Student Inclusion at Cork College of Commerce
  • Celebrating a year of KWETB Student Study Hub
  • And much more!
DIFE awarded Best Provider of Further Education in         Ireland for the second year running
Drogheda Institute of Further Education (DIFE) has been awarded Best Further Education Provider in Ireland in recognition of outstanding overall performance and excellence at the 2021 Education Awards.

“Winning this award for the second year is an amazing achievement. It is a great recognition of the hard work and dedication of our wonderful teaching staff in DIFE. Our ambition is to be the leading provider of further education in Ireland and our teachers work tirelessly each year to ensure the best educational experience and outcomes for our students.” - Principal of DIFE, Davy McDonnell
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            New €42m FET College of the Future campus for                                                                                         Dunboyne College

Welcoming her Cabinet colleague’s announcement, Helen McEntee, Minister for Justice paid tribute to the ongoing work in the college: “Dunboyne College is producing the next generation of workers in Dunboyne and what is important now is that we will have the space and the ability to grow and support even more students and the business and industry in this region.”
LMETB has welcomed the allocation of €42million funding for a new purpose-built college at Dunboyne College of Further Education. Announced by Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education during a visit to Dunboyne College before Christmas, the new development is a pilot project which could pave the way for further purpose-built facilities for Further Education. Minister Harris said the new campus will be “transformational for Dunboyne, for Meath and for Further Education.”
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AMTCE to tackle skills gaps with launch of Robotic
Welding courses that embrace virtual reality
Employers are addressing the shortage of skilled trades such as electricians, welders and mechanicians through the introduction of preconfigured MiG/MAG robotics welding stations which allow an experienced and appropriately trained welder to operate a number of welding cells simultaneously. Robotic welding can also improve consistency and deliver higher quality welds.

To support employers considering this transition, AMTCE has launched a new one-day introduction to Robotic Welding and, as a progression path, a 5-day course which explores the in-depth, hands-on realities of operating an advanced robotic cell in a manufacturing environment.

AMTCE will introduce a 10-week Robotic Welding course add-on later this year and is also planning a 16-week Coding Welding course for novice welders which will feature new technology innovations such as virtual reality to create a safe environment.
 About AMTCE

The Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellent launched in January 2021, offering hands-on training in areas such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, industrial control systems and precision engineering through state-of-the-art equipment. Since the roll-out of initial training courses last August, there has been a hugely positive response from both employers and learners. AMTCE participated in the 2021 National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference and Exhibition and look forward to welcoming learners to the Centre for in-person courses in 2022.
Find out more about AMTCE
DIFE launch new Data Centre Technician programme in
collaboration with Amazon Web Services

Drogheda Institute of Further Education launched the new programme and bursary in collaboration with AWS in January 2022. Designed to prepare graduates for employment in data centres or companies that support data centre functions, the programme will train learners in the latest technologies such as cloud computing servers, networking systems and diagnostics and troubleshooting. Learners will gain dual certification with QQI component awards and the industry standard Cisco Certified Networks Associate award and have the opportunity to apply for a 14-week paid placement in an AWS data centre in Ireland.
“The commitment from AWS, a global leader in cloud computing, to support a training programme in Drogheda is greatly welcomed and will provide students in the Drogheda community with a unique opportunity to develop the relevant skills to secure in-demand jobs in the region.” – Davy Mc Donnell, DIFE Principal
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LMETB registered 700 apprentices in 2021 despite COVID-
19 challenges
The LMETB Regional Skills and Training Centre has welcomed an influx in new companies and new apprentices thanks to the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme. Providing apprenticeships in Electrical, Carpentry and Joinery, Plumbing, Motor Mechanics, Pipefitting, Wood Manufacturing and Finishing, and Metal Fabrication, LMETB also introduced two additional apprenticeships in 2021, in Toolmaking and Hairdressing.

In total, LMETB has over 2,000 apprentices across 53 apprenticeships, representing 500 companies.
Introducing JAM cards – Cork College of Commerce
commits to student inclusion

Developed by Belfast-based social enterprise NOW Group, JAM was designed to support people with learning difficulties in customer service situations, however the card system is a useful tool for anyone with communication barriers.

Cork ETB college Cork College of Commerce (CCOC) has introduced ‘Just a Minute’ cards at their campuses in Cork City and Skibbereen to empower students with learning barriers or communication difficulties to discreetly share their need for patience, understanding and empathy in social situations which they might find challenging.
“We are fully committed to caring for our students and offering them support in their personal development as well as their educational and professional development, so the JAM card initiative is perfectly in line with our existing supports, and we will continue to strive to provide a vibrant, positive learning experience at Cork College of Commerce.” – Helen Ryan, CCOC Principal.
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Erasmus+: Check In, Take Off
In Autumn 2020, five ETBs – Galway and Roscommon, Longford and Westmeath, Waterford and Wexford, Dublin and Dunlaoighre, and Donegal – participated in field trials and research for the development of a new Skills Checker app. ETBI is a partner on the Erasmus+ project ‘Check In, Take Off’ which has developed the web application to help adults recognise their existing skills and explore learning goals and new skills they could develop.

According to the European Commission, 1 in 5 European adults struggle with basic reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills. The Skills Checker tool allows adults to self-assess their basic skills and signpost them to a range of flexible learning options available nationally.

The project consortium includes Malta (project coordinators), Ireland (ETBI, NALA and WIT) and Norway (Fonix) with a shared belief in the transformative power of education for learners, their families and their communities.

A virtual conference showcasing the CITO Skills Checker, the project research and results, was held in February.
CITO Conference
KWETB FET Student Study Hub celebrate first birthday
Established in March 2021, the Student Study Hub is the innovation of KWETB FET’s Accessible Learning Integrated Support Service (ALISS). Developed to provide integrated, high quality and inclusive learning supports for learners to thrive in their chosen study pathway.

The free online hub provides resources for learners (developed in accordance with UDL principles) to brush up vital core skills that will support them on their FET programme. These include study skills, writing tips and digital skills, with resources available to support independent learning or as tools for educators in class settings.

As the Hub approaches it’s first birthday, new learning units have been added to support learners to get to grips with IT theory and terminology, and interactive support resources for the new QQI Level 5 Early Learning and Care Programme. Student feedback on the Hub has been hugely positive and its success serves as an excellent example of how collaboration and integration of service can result in seamless support services for the learner.
Remembering Gerry Brown, a beacon for literacy in Cork
The staff of Cork ETB have paid tribute to Mrs. Gerry Brown, who has died at the age of 103. Gerry was a pioneer for education in Cork, establishing a 1-to-1 support service in 1973, for parents struggling to support their children in the new free secondary school system.
For those parents who wanted to re-engage with education to improve their own literacy and numeracy skills, Gerry founded a Tutor Training Programme which began in people’s own homes, before the support of Paddy Parfrey, CEO of City of Cork VEC, opened the doors of the underutilized School of Commerce to the Scheme.

Gerry’s model expanded over the years that followed to address literacy needs in surrounding areas and in Dublin. In the half century since then, literacy had been recognized as a fundamental part of Adult Education across Ireland with an infrastructure of centres and staff in every ETB founded on the same principles – 1-to-1 support for the learner, a recognition that community is core to how we learn, and the value of working in small groups.

Gerry is remembered as a visionary who put her determination and resourcefulness to challenging a status quo which she believed needed to be shaken up. She will be much missed by those she inspired and worked with. Gerry was a much-loved wife, mother and grandmother of a large extended family, including her grandson Simon Coveney TD.
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