Local student wins top prize in adult education careers competition
By Mary Dennehy
THE importance of investing in adult education was once again evident this month, after a student from the Tallaght Adult Education Centre won a top prize in a national careers competition.
Based in the Enterprise Centre on Main Road, the Tallaght Adult Education Centre continues to shape success stories – through its range of inclusive and tailored programmes which strive to support people who may have been out of employment for some time or those who may not have a Junior or Leaving Cert qualification.
According to Jacqueline Doherty, a teacher with the education centre, people return to education for a number of reasons, with some seeking to upskill or gain life skills while many see it as a path to further education or employment opportunities.
Ms Doherty told The Echo: “The ETB [Education and Training Board] cut VTOS places from 80 to 60 in 2014, that’s a cut of 25 per cent.
“There is nowhere else in Tallaght that an adult student can sit some Leaving Cert subjects as part of their course and the fact that even apprenticeships are looking for this standard of education or equivalent makes it even more important to continue to provide it in Tallaght.”
She added: “I would be here all day if I tried to give details of all of my past student’s successes.
“We have past students working in the ETB office at The Square, students working in Tallaght Hospital, a student who went on to Maynooth to study Astrophysics and students in IT Tallaght – where one student Sarah Halpin won an award after her first year for best results.”
According to Ms Doherty, adult education is key to providing people with the necessary skills and confidence to pursue a job or further education – and investment is required to ensure that people currently unemployed are made aware of and supported into adult education.
Last year, a student of the Tallaght Adult Education Centre, Dean Kavanagh, won the Careers Portal competition, with student Rita Ryan (35) coming second in the Adult Leaner Category this year.
According to Rita: “[The Adult Education Centre] gave me a great opportunity to experience what it’s like to study full-time in my thirties and I also learned that it is possible to juggle college and family life.
“I am so grateful for all of the support I received from my teachers at Tallaght Adult Education.”
Speaking about the Careers Portal event, Ms Doherty said: “At the presentation ceremony I was happy to hear Richard Bruton [the Minister for Education and Skills] talk of how the number of apprenticeships has been increased significantly and looking at the boom in the building trade, this is to be welcomed.
“Apart from the obvious building trade apprenticeships I am glad to see insurance and engineering companies and companies like Iarnród Éireann and Dublin Aerospace also offering places.
“The only snag for some young people in Tallaght might be the educational criteria.
“They all need Junior or Leaving Cert or equivalent and they can get that on the VTOS programme in Tallaght Adult Education Service.”
The Tallaght centre is part of the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board and for further details visit www.ddletb.ie.