Congress Centres Network
Minister Joan Bruton with John Mathews and Frank O'Brien, Dundalk Congress Centre at the trades fair in Marshes DundalkLEONARDO MOBILITY VETPRO COPENHAGEN AUGUST 2012 In February 2011 an application was made to Leargas under the Vocational and Training Professionals (VETPRO) category by Congress Centres Network to travel to Denmark and visit training facilities and projects that facilitate unemployed learners similar to CCN unemployment centres. In September 2011 the funding was secured to take a group of 9 coordinators and tutors from the CCN to Denmark and the University College Capital Denmark kindly offered to be a partner and host the visit. I UCC was established in 2007 and represents a unique blend of century old higher education institutions and ambitious efforts to meet 21st century demands for innovative and high quality graduate and post-graduate studies, applied research and professional development. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions had developed a relationship with Lene Polsen of UCC during a Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation Project ‘REVOW’ in 2010-2011.Lene Polsen works as a Career Guidance Counsellor and researcher with University College Capital Denmark (UCC). Lene and her colleague Lis Boysen worked on the REVOW project that focused on Recognition of Work Place Learning and creating a mechanism to capture the skill set of workers without formal qualifications. The initial idea was to go to Denmark and to observe and learn to about their systems of education, childcare, grassroots organisations and innovative techniques when working with the unemployed. Exchanging information and bringing ideas back to Ireland and using new techniques to improve aspects of our training provision. One objective of the trip was to exchange ideas and experiences in relation to vocational education and training provision. The aim of the project is to identify possible innovations in the area of service provision and delivery in the community services relevant to unemployed people in Ireland.
Everyone on the trip got on well and enjoyed the experience. All participants felt it was fantastic to see how another country operates the positive interventions for the unemployed and different pedagogies applied in the area of childcare. This exchange also gave the participants the time to reflect and appreciate the good services we are offering within the local community throughout Ireland. How to ensure we stay abreast of new research and implement proven techniques into our practice. The Congress Centres Network together with the host UCC organising devised a five day programme for the group in Denmark. The programme comprised of visits to the unemployment centres and a childcare facility, along with workshops on topics including the European Qualification Framework and the Danish flexicurity system for supporting unemployed people returning to education. The group learned that all unemployed people in the country are categorised in to three groups depending on their readiness to return to work. Training must be focused on skills needed for future jobs and not just training for the sake of training. Any 15 – 17 year olds who drop out of secondary school are contacted and offered individual coaching conversations regarding how to find a meaningful occupation. Travel abroad and volunteering is accepted as building skills in the case of young people. The main concern is that all people learn to engage with society in a positive way from a young age. It was a brilliant learning curve and the group were overall extremely impressed with the Danish way of addressing and dealing with unemployment. One participant said with great enthusiasm ‘in short nobody falls through the net, everybody is offered a chance and for every problem it seems there is a solution. A very good basis to start with back home’. There was also a visit to the Danish Trade Union 3F with Paul Hanson discuss vocational education & training for the unemployed. The Trade Union administer the social welfare benefit and this lasts up to two and half years. There are many Trade Union centres supporting the unemployed back into employment through links with employers, career guidance and early interventions. We also had the opportunity to meet with ILO Anders Vind to discuss the challenges facing the Trade Union Movement during the economic crisis and high unemployment throughout Europe. This trip took place in August 2012 and all participants completed the FETAC Level 5 Community Development Practice module and FETAC Level 5 Team working and also received a Europass Mobility Document. The Congress Centres Network strives to encourage the continuous professional development of all the members of the network while building relationships and networking with similar organisations internationally. The project overall was hugely successful and the Congress Centres Network hopes to run one again in the future.
MY STORY - ANN WILKINSON
Ann Wilkinson started on a Community Employment scheme in the Letterkenny Resource Centre. Please see the story of her progression here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpaukmR9BoE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE LETTERKENNY RESOURCE CENTRE?
Please follow this link to find out
ICTU GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE
In October 2011 the General Purposes Committee of Congress had their meeting in the EDI Centre in Longford. This was an opportunity for the GPC to see some of what the CCN does and also visit one of the active Centres and see the day to day running of it.There was a presentation given at the meeting on the activities of the Centres and the visit recieved positive feedback from thos in attendance.
Meeting of the Congress GPC in the EDI Centre Longford
CCN wins Highly Commended Award at Aontas Star Awards
John Mathews, CCN Vice-Chair, Sylvia Ryan, CCN Programme Manager, Michael D Higgins, Fiona Elward, CCN, Susan Bray, Coordinator Mullingar Centre and Frank Vaughan, Congress Director of Learning at the Aontas Star Award presentations
November Residential/Training Event
CCN held another successful residential and training event the first week of November 2010. The Boards of Management were also invited to attend the meeting with the Coordinators. The event included: the Coordinators recieving Media Skilla Training, training sessions on the new CCN website and also the process for applying for FÁS Excellence Through People and how it is awarded, there was a presentation given by NERA - the National Employment Rights Authority, an excercise to map out the next strategic plan for the Network going forward, a SWOT analysis on the Network and also Sallyanne Kinahan met the group to discuss the future of the Congres Campaign - 'There is a Fairer Better Way' and the input of the Centres.
Coordinators During Strategic Planning
ETUC National Day of Protest 29th September 2010
Congress held a Protest Gathering on September 29 outside the Dail, to mark the return of Government TDs from their summer break. The theme of the protest was Jobs not Cuts.
The protest in Dublin was also held as part of the European Trade Union Confederation Day of Action against austerity measures. The event saw trade union organised protests taking place across the EU, with a major demonstration in Brussels, at which Congress had a delegation represent Ireland.
Congress Centres Network, again had a strong presence at the demonstration. The Centres have consistently represented the Network at all recent events held as part of the greater Congress There is a Fairer Better WayCampaign.
Staff from the Centres at the ETUC Rally on 29th September 2010Sylvia Ryan and staff from the Centres at the ETUC Rally on 29th September 2010
LABOUR MARKET ACTIVATION
The Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan T.D. announced, on 5 August 2010, her allocation of an additional €12 million to the Labour Market Activation Fund. The additional funding will support education and training programmes for at least 5,000 additional unemployed people and will bring the total number of participant places supported by the Fund to over 11,000 this year.
The Tánaister had previously announced, on 1 June 2010, that some 6,589 training places will be made available to the unemployed under the Labour Market Activation Fund, 2010.
For more information please see the QUALIFAX website where you can see all available courses.
THE ALL IRELAND INSPIRATIONAL LIFE AWARD
Pat Kelleher won in category 2 of the All Ireland Inspirational Life Award
Pat Kelleher, Longford EDI Board of Management
COORDINATOR MEETING / IT TRAINING MARCH 2010
Sylvia Ryan - Programme Manager, Brendan Mackin - Chair, CCN and Gerard Gasparro - FAS Community Services
In March 2010 we held our Coordinators meeting in the Longford EDI Centre to avail of their high-spec facilities. In attendance at the coordinators meeting was Gerard Gasparro, the Director of Employment and Community Division in FAS. This was the first time we had anyone from Community Services in FAS attend a meeting and it was a pleasure to have him with us. Gerard got a much better understanding of the Network and the activities within each Centre. The meeting combined training on two new products that will be soon introduced to Centres. The first being the new website and database, this training was given by Tom Duke from Digital Revolutionaries, the company designing both. Also we had training in I-CANDO Digital Skills Programme delivered by Neil Leydon from the Digital Media Forum. Both sessions were successful and provided useful Feedback.
Coordinators Continous Professional Development Coordinators Continous Professional Development Tom Duke - Digital Revolutionaries
'ALL THE WRONG OPTIONS HAVE BEEN PURSUED'
In a major new initiative, TASC has sponsored an open letter from 28 economists, social scientists and economic analysts arguing that the current economic strategy has failed, and seeking to chart a new way forward. The letter was published in the Irish Times on Tuesday 9th March - to view the letter click here.
Congratulations to the Revamp Training Project in the Longford EDI Centre who won an Aontas Star Award in the Leinster Local category in the 2010Star Awards.
Winner: Revamp Training Project
The Revamp Project is a non-profit making furniture recycling and reuse project established in 2002 as a social enterprise to reduce waste and provide training for young people from a Welfare dependant background. It is a tailor made programme providing a mixture of learning and manual work devised by FAS and the Department of Social and Family Affairs in conjunction with the Longford Employment, Development and Information Centre. The 48 week course, accredited by FETAC involved personal development, information technology, literacy, numeracy as well as three practical subjects: upholstery, woodwork and tiling. Through the Revamp Furniture Store, which was established following success of the project, quality furniture is provided at affordable prices, demonstrating the multiple benefits of reuse and recycling. Over 70% of the trainees have progressed into full-time employment, apprenticeships or further education or training.
Please see press release by Aontas:
AONTAS STARS shine at Awards Ceremony
22 Feb 2010 05:37 PM
Embargo : 5pm 22nd February
AONTAS STARS shine at Awards Ceremony
The efforts of thirteen outstanding adult education organisations were highlighted at the AONTAS STAR Awards Ceremony at No. 6 Kildare Street this afternoon, Monday 22nd February.
The awards highlight the role of adult education in the current economic climate and reflect some of the key concerns at the moment - these include the increasing demand for upskilling and reskilling initiatives, as well as adults rising interest in third level education. Award winners come from Longford, Limerick, Dublin, Donegal, Laois, Mayo and Carlow.
The awards ceremony marks the official opening of the fourth AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival, with over 250 events taking place nationwide, all on various aspects of adult education throughout the week. Events will provide information on current education options for adults, but also involve a variety of organisations such as libraries, galleries and groups such as GIY Ireland.
Minister for Lifelong Learning, Sean Haughey TD, who officially opened the Festival, said 'In relation to the real stars today - you, the learners - I want to heartily congratulate each and every one of you on your significant achievement. You should feel very proud of your success.'
Orla Barry, Newstalk presenter, was the guest speaker at the event. The popular broadcaster is herself a 'lifelong learner', regularly signing up for courses, and is currently a Masters student at UCD. (Insert quote) .
The theme of the festival is 'Better Together' - and promotes greater collaboration in the adult education sector, which results in more accurate information on eligibility for those seeking to enrol in courses, as well as clearer progression options for those taking part in education and training. 'Collaboration is clearly the way to go, said Ms Brady. Just last week we saw UL and NUI Galway come together in a strategic alliance in order to 'work smarter.' This type of approach will also yield benefits to the adult education sector. The adult and community education service has to date developed in a disparate and ad hoc way. Many adult education programmes have developed separately and work independently of each other.'
'This is a very appropriate theme and one which very much supports and compliments my own view as Minister for Lifelong Learning - that working in partnership generates infinitely better outcomes,' continued the Minister. 'By working together, as administrators, providers and indeed, as participants, there is no limit to what we can achieve.'
Speaking at the ceremony, Berni Brady, Director of AONTAS said, 'Latest unemployment figures (January 2010) stand at 12.7%. Retraining and upskilling opportunities are the most effective response in countering unemployment, by preparing people for new employment opportunities when they arise and assisting people to cope with the loss of confidence that often accompanies redundancy and unemployment.'
Events throughout the week include a 'Green Learning Day' on Tuesday 23rd, and the launch of 'Beyond the Classroom' - a series of television programmes about community education funded through the BAI Sound and Vision Fund. Thursday promotes 'Learn at Work' and on Friday learners and adult education providers will meet with the Minister and Education Spokespeople to discuss the current challenges - in a similar format to a constituency clinic.
Thie is the Staff responsible for the Revamp Project in the Longford EDI Centre recieving their award from Sean Haughey T.D. Minister for Lifelong Learning at the Aontas Star Awards on Monday 22nd February 2010
To see other images from the event please see the Aontas Image Gallery
The Frontline is a current affairs debate show on RTE every Monday night. The show features the best in current affairs debate on the hot subjects of the day, plus some surprises too. Wll done to JohnMathews who participated in the audience of The Frontline on Monday 15th January 2010. On the night Pat Kenny and a panel including Ed Walsh, Fr Sean Healy, Suzanne Kelly and Donna O'Brien discuss the issues and social impact of policies relating to Ireland's social welfare system. To view the episode on RTE Player click here.
Communities Against Cuts March, 30th September 2009
Congress Centres Banner
Over 120 staff members and volunteers from Centres travelled up to Dublin on Wednesday 30th September to march in solidarity for the Communities Against Cuts March. It was a very long day for some people and we want to thank all those who came along and look forward to seeing them at the next day of protest on Friday 6th November.
The Poor Cant Pay
Anita Robinson and Jackie Kavanagh from the Fingal Centre at The Poor Can't Pay campaign's "alternative Cabinet meeting"
Anita Robinson and Jackie Kavanagh of the Fingal Centre went along to The Poor Can't Pay campaign's "alternative Cabinet meeting" on Monday 7th September as seen in this photo taken outside Dail Eireann. For more information on the campaign please visit The Poor Cant Pay.
WHICHCOURSE EXPO 2009
Minister for Lifelong Learning Sean Haughey with Bill Halliden and Sylvia Ryan of Congress at the WhichCourse Expo.
Ireland's largest exhibition of adult learning courses took place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August in the RDS, Dublin. The second ever WHICHCOURSE EXPO is the only exhibition in Ireland to showcase Adult Learning courses, bringing together course providers of anything from academic and back to the workplace courses, to self-development, arts & crafts and leisure pursuits - all under one roof. Bill Halliden Director of Union Learning and Sylvia Ryan Acting Programme Manager of Congress Centres Network both participated at the event and discussed adult education with the Minister for Lifelong Learning Mr. Sean Haughey.
Leonardo Mobility Project 2009
The 15 participants of the Leonardo Mobility Project 2009 with Mrs Eva Cederberg, Deputy Director of Education from the host organisation, Västerås stad, proAros
In February of this year an application was made to Leargas under the Vocational and Training Professionals (VETPRO) category by Congress Centres Network to travel to Sweden and visit similar unemployment centres. In April 2009 the funding was secured to take a group of 15 coordinators and tutors from the CCN to Sweden and the City of Vasteras ProAros kindly offered to be a partner and facilitate the visit.
ProAros is the municipal alternative in Vasteras as regards school, pre-school, home-care for older and disabled people, social support and culture.
The aim of the project is to identify possible innovations in the area of service provision and delivery in the community services relevant to unemployed people in Ireland.
Everyone on the trip got on well and enjoyed the experience. All participants felt it was fantastic to see how another country operates these services.
The Congress Centres Network together with the facilitating organising devised a five day programme for the group in Sweden. The programme comprised visits to the community based unemployment centres and a childcare facility, along with workshops on topics including the European Qualification Framework and the Swedish flexicurity system for supporting unemployed people returning to education. The group learned that all unemployed people in the country are contacted and given opportunities to train in whatever aspect of employment they would like to get into. Any 16 - 20 year olds who drop out of secondary school are contacted and offered individual coaching conversations regarding how to find a meaningful occupation.
It was a brilliant learning curve and the group were overall extremely impressed with the Swedish way of addressing and dealing with unemployment. One participant said with great enthusiasm 'in short nobody falls through the net, everybody is offered a chance and for every problem it seems there is a solution. A very good basis to start with back home'.
There was also a visit to the Swedish Trade Union HQ to discuss vocational education & training for the unemployed. This trip took place in June 2009 and all participants completed the FETAC Level 5 Community Development Practice module and Level 5 Understanding Community Development and also receive a Europass Mobility Document. The Congress Centres Network strives to encourage the continuous professional development of all the members of the network while building relationships and networking with similar organisations internationally.
The project overall was hugely successful and the Congress Centres Network hopes to run one again in the future.