The LYIT Killybegs Campus has dismissed fears raised by low full-time enrollments by proudly registering a record number of students on Culinary Arts programmes for the new educational year.
Up to 50 new Culinary Arts students are set to begin classes at the Killybegs Culinary School on Monday 17th September.
LYIT Killybegs has recorded a fall in enrollments on full-time degree programmes in 2018/2019. This is reflective of national trends, says Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin, Head of Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts.
Much of the interest has been in Springboard Certificate courses this year, with a record 38 places filled on the free higher education programme at Killybegs to date.
In referencing the recent negative reports, Dr Ó hAnnracháin said that while Killybegs may not be the most attractive location for traditional school leavers, there are many non-traditional students who place a significant value on the reputation of the college, the extensive facilities and the experienced staff. These students continue to apply to Killybegs for the Springboard and other advanced entry programmes in record numbers, said Dr Ó hAnnracháin.
Applications through the CAO have fallen off nationally for hospitality, tourism and culinary arts programmes in recent years and this has had a significant impact on the student body in Killybegs.
The college says this shortfall has been replaced by students returning to college as career changers and by professionals in the industry who wish to upskill.
The Springboard project for Hospitality and Culinary Arts provided 96 places nationally, with 38 places being allocated to date in Killybegs. The application, worth a total of €1.4M this academic year was co-ordinated by Dr Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin at LYIT Killybegs and includes partner institutions in Athlone, Galway, Tralee, Cork and Waterford.
LYIT Killybegs was the first college in the country to offer a BA (Hons) in Culinary Arts, and continues to offer Higher Certificates, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Culinary Arts.
Students on these programmes are said to have excellent opportunities to study and work overseas as part of their education.
LYIT Killybegs is also the only college in the country to offer elective streams in Kitchen and Larder or Bakery and Pastry, recently investing heavily in a new bakery kitchen, which allows students to specialise to the highest international standards.
The faculty is looking forward to registering Hospitality and Tourism Springboard programme students next week, as well as returning students to Years 2, 3 and 4.