Former RTÉ Northern Editor Tommie Gorman was the keynote speaker at Donegal ETB’s recent annual Community Education Seminar hosted by its Further Education and Training (FET) Service.
The event made a welcome in-person return after taking place online over the last three years and was attended by over 100 community education providers and students from across the county.
This annual seminar offers those who are involved in the provision of Community Education, particularly those who use grant funding administered by Donegal ETB’s Community Education Support Programme under its FET Service, the opportunity to come together and discuss issues of relevance to them.
RTÉ’s former Northern Editor Gorman, spoke about the seminar theme of Strength and Sustainability.
He told the audience “Strength isn’t always easy to muster, to step outside of one’s comfort zone; but in doing so, we find the means to nurture and sustain ourselves on what can sometimes be a difficult path.
“In Donegal, there is a tremendous history of community and an appreciation of the value of community.”
The significant contribution of the ETB’s Community Education Support Programme within communities across the county in 2022 saw support provided to 511 courses involving 3,753 students.
Most provision was non-accredited, short-term, and part-time, including arts and crafts, languages, furniture and fashion upcycling, bee-keeping and gardening, but also allowed for participants to undertake accreditation in areas such as First Aid, Food Hygiene, Intercultural Studies, Local and Global Development, Payroll and Sign Language.
In supporting groups to deliver community education in their own area, the Programme enabled the provision of high-quality, low-cost courses delivered locally and meeting identified needs of the local community.
The seminar also included input from students and providers who have engaged with the Community Education Support Programme over the past year.
In closing the seminar, Donegal ETB’s Director of FET, Ciaran O’Brien, highlighted a range of initiatives taking place within the FET Service, including the importance of the student voice in guiding provision. He said, that “Forty three Community Education Providers received funding under the ETB’s Reach Fund in 2022 and we look forward to providing further funding of a similar nature this year.”