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Talented students show class

by Jimmy Rhatigan

THANK YOU for your engagement and commitment.

That was the message from Kilkenny & Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB) to learners from a range of programmes in Education, devoted students for a number of years.

The board met students in the Ormonde Hotel for an event organised by management and staff as a return to in-person celebration of learners’ achievements.

Class members showcased their work from a variety of art, craft and design, in woodcarving, photography, family learning programmes, and community education projects. 

It was clear that the opportunity to learn, combined with great tuition and a ‘can-do’ attitude can produce amazing results, even in the most challenging of times.

Learners were invited to ‘weave a star’ decoration for the KCETB family tree. 

Nuala Donovan, Conchubhar De Róiste,  Jackie De Róiste,  Hazel Dickinson, Irish Wheelchair Association

This tree was expertly curated by Kilkenny Youthreach learners as part of their involvement in the Amber’s One Million Stars Ireland project earlier this year. 

It was great to see such a beautiful project extended to include all KCETB learners, a true symbol of unity throughout Covid lockdowns and of identity as part of KCETB. 

Students spoke about their experience with the Adult Literacy Service where classes are run for those who are hoping to improve English language skills, computer skills, photography and family learning programmes such as the ‘Hug-a-Book’ project. 

One learner told classmates: “I stood outside the door on Patrick Street on the first day, wondering if I’d go in, I was so nervous…but going in was the best decision I ever made. 

“All tutors are great, there was no pressure, and I just learned…it’s amazing.”

Other VTOS learners show their ceramic pieces and spoke of me how their creative side was unleashed. 

“I used to work in the bank, so I never had myself down as being creative.

“Here I am now, showing off my handiwork. I’m very proud of myself, and thanks to the teachers, they couldn’t have been more helpful.” 

Keith Finnegan, Susan Corrigan, Shane Whelan, Mairead  McCormack, Lilith  Michel, ETB Tutors and Irish Wheelchair Association staff

Community groups around the county have been funded through the KCETB Community Education Service to run community projects which meet the needs of individuals and their communities. 

The Cois Nore group showcased knitting and craft work.

Urlingford Art Group had an exhibition of work developed over their time together. 

UCasadh Project, Ferrybank presented their traditional gypsy wagon, an impressive piece of craftsmanship. 

The wagon was created by Jamie Stokes and Kalem Madigan. 

Siobhan O’Brien, Community Education Facilitator said all learners had shown real grit and determination.

“They were fantastic. I’ve no doubt we will see more fabulous work from them.”

It was not possible to showcase the work of some learners but these students will work with children in childcare settings, and as healthcare assistants in hospitals and nursing homes, as a direct result of their studies with the likes of BTEI, Back to Education Initiative. 

Staff of County Kilkenny Adult Guidance Service answered queries from learners about what path they could take next.

 “Returning to work, education or training can be daunting. People can have many questions, not just about the course, but also about funding and progression routes. 

“We can help answer all those questions,” said Joan Howley, Adult Guidance Counsellor with the service.

The Adult Guidance Service, Lower New Street, Kilkenny can be contacted on 056-7764448 or [email protected] 

Rachel Kelly and Sophie Henderson, Kilkenny Youthreach
Kana McDermott, Yuki Callinan, English and Computers

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