The sun shone radiantly, reflecting the proud smiles of the many graduates at the IRD Duhallow Recognition of Learning Ceremony recently and there was a warm welcome for Minister for Education Norma Foley who presented the certificates to the graduates.
Chairperson of IRD Duhallow Breeda Moynihan Cronin noted that “it is fitting that we are celebrating this ceremony here in the grounds of the James O’Keeffe Institute.
“I think it is safe to say that we have truly realised the fundamental aim of its Board many years ago was to establish this Newmarket building as a Rural Centre of Excellence for Learning and Development”.
It was a special day for many, who had undertaken an unprecedented learning journey as the pandemic struck during their course. For some, it was the first time they had met as a group as their training had to be solely delivered online.
In excess of 80 Certificates were presented on the day: From one-day Certificates of attendance right up to Level 8 degrees. Four major awards: Level 5 Major Award in Healthcare; Level 7 & Level 8 Degrees in Early Childhood Care & Education and a Level 4 Major Award in Horticulture were included.
Funded through the Skills Connect Programme, the Health Care Support Worker Level 5 Major Award saw 12 people graduate and receive their certs from the Minister. Skills connect is focused on upskilling unemployed individuals in areas with identified skills gaps. As a rural area with an ageing population, health care workers are in high demand. This is the fourth group of Health Care students graduating from the Programme and over 90% of those who have successfully completed have gone on to full time employment.
IRD Duhallow has a long-standing track record of working with Child Care providers in the region having supported the establishment of six community crèches under the previous childcare capital programme. Through their work with the North Cork Childcare Network, it was identified that there was a need to upskill childcare workers in the region to QQI Level 7 and QQI Level 8 degrees. In collaboration with IT Carlow, a BA in Early Childhood Care and Education was delivered through the TNP programme of Skillnet and on the day 57 people successfully graduated from the programme.
IRD Duhallow Skillnet was founded in 2015 with the aim of delivering affordable quality training locally from its base in the James O’Keeffe Institute. Since them, IRD has supported 2,930 Member companies, 6,621 employed trainees and 395 unemployed trainees across an excess of 50,000 training days. In her speech Minister Foley acknowledged the important work being undertaken by IRD Duhallow and its voluntary Board.