Ringsend College is part of a central cog in a larger programme to address adult education issues in Ireland. The college is a part of CDETB, which has a remit over many different areas of education, training and learning, and the college’s main focus is adult and community education.
The adult education service starts at numeracy and literacy and goes right up to junior cycle level. Adults will often enter into further education where different levels are enumerated and based on the National Qualifications Framework, a 10 level framework which extends from FETAC at Level One to Higher Doctorate at Level Ten.
The area of adult education covers everything from level 1 to level 4. Such courses are ongoing in Ringsend College all year around.
Ringsend College are continuing their tradition of providing an education model for the local community in this vein. The college was founded in 1893, and in the early twentieth century developed a vocational training and apprenticeship centre. 100 years ago adults would have been learning the technical skills of the time, which were mechanical, whereas now they will be learning about computing. NewsFour spoke to Ringsend College principal Donnchadh Clancy.
“Further education is mainly September to May but there are also summer courses,” Clancy said. “In further education we specialise in IT and systems and networks, and we have people in on a momentum course, who do 19 weeks training with us and 13 weeks in the workplace. We are the first college in Ireland to do a new apprenticeship called the ICT Associate Professional, a course launched on the German model, which runs over two years, level 5 and 6, which contains a lot of industry qualifications as well.”
The college runs a very popular horticulture course, invigilated by Lorraine Clarke, and is also beginning new programmes in tourism and retail this September, as agencies have notified the college of a burgeoning gap in Ireland’s retail industry. There are also new part-time basic skills courses starting up in September, with enrolment taking place on September 8th and 9th. These programmes include Level 3 Foundation Sewing and Enterprise, Foundation Woodwork and Enterprise and a host of others, which are free of charge for those currently on social welfare. Eithne Doherty, Adult Education Officer, spoke to NewsFour about these new initiatives.
“The courses are really to encourage people who have had a bad experience in education first time around to come forward and they would have a different experience this time around and every effort will be made to accommodate them.”
Patricia McCormack is Community Education Facilitator and she spoke to us about her role in the adult education set up in the college and how those who have been unemployed for extended periods of time are their main target group.
“My role is to reach into the community and provide education opportunities to people,” Patricia said. “A lot of the community groups use the classes as a focal point to get people together. While it’s educational, it also addresses things like social isolation, mental health issues and domestic abuse. We are a re-entry point for people to get back into education and the landscape has changed hugely over the last 20 years.”
By Craig Kinsella