Further Education and Training Service Hosts Annual Community Education Seminar

Over one hundred participants attended the annual Community Education Seminar of Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service in Letterkenny on Friday last. This was one of the largest attendances to date.

The majority of those attending this year’s seminar had either hosted a Community Education Programme or had participated in a course which was funded under the ETB’s Community Education Support Programme.

Those attending heard from keynote speaker, Eileen Magnier of RTE fame. Eileen has covered a lot of newsworthy items in the county over the years. She noted “the strong community spirit which is present in the county” and attributed this to Donegal’s self-sufficiency, vibrant leaders and a willingness of people to get involved in their communities. Eileen also informed the audience that she is a “strong advocate of Life Long Learning.”

Other presenters included learner representatives from Sciobal na mBan, Gaoth Dobhair, the Men’s Shed, Killybegs and the St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre. The learners provided an outline of their own journey through education and explained the positive benefits they had experienced through engaging in courses within their local communities.

Speaking at the seminar, Cróna Gallagher, Director of Further Education and Training Services, Donegal ETB said, “It’s wonderful to see so many participants at today’s seminar. This is a great indicator of the healthy community education sector we have in this county and we in Donegal ETB are delighted to be able to support this important education sector.”

A sample of exhibitors were also present on the day and displayed some of the many pieces of artworks and crafts produced by a number of the Community Education Groups around the county which were supported by the Community Education Support Programme.

Donegal ETB’s Community Education Support Programme is part of its Further Education and Training (FET) Service. It is a grant-based fund which provides support to groups to deliver a range of community programmes in their own area. The result is high-quality, low-cost courses delivered locally, meeting identified needs of the local community. While the ETB’s Community Education Programme funds accredited courses, such as Intercultural Studies, it mostly supports non-accredited courses – anything from cookery classes to art to bike maintenance.

In 2018, over 450 courses were supported by the ETB’s Community Education Support Programme throughout the county, involving over 4,000 learners.

For further information on the Community Education Support programme contact the Community Education Office at 074 9725522 or visit https://www.donegaletb.ie/further-education-training/adult-learning/community-education/.

More photos are available on Donegal ETB’s Facebook page.

Martina Needham, AEO; Cróna Gallagher, Director of FET; Cllr Martin Harley, Donegal ETB Chairperson; Eileen Magnier, RTE (guest speaker); Catherine Friel, Community Education Facilitator; Sinead Campbell, Community Education Facilitator; Tricia McGuiness, Community Education Administrator.