Davy McDonnell, Principal of Drogheda Institute of Further Education, spoke at a national symposium hosted by Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), at Athlone Springs Hotel, Co. Roscommon, last week.
The event, ‘Empowering Learning Engagement’, heard from learners and staff in further education and training (FET) on their experiences across various pathways such as apprenticeships, traineeships, and Skills to Advance training schemes.
McDonnell participated in a panel discussion which comprised members of ETBI FET Networks from various FET provisions across the sector.
The discussion focused on empowering future learner engagement in further education and training from the perspective of each network and how through reflection on learner voice, future FET initiatives can enhance FET provision.
Commenting on the event, Denis Leamy, Chief Executive of Cork ETB and Chair of the Directors of Further Education and Training Forum, said:
“This was an important event for learners as a platform for them to share their personal experiences so they are understood and supported by our colleagues across FET.
“Whichever Further Education and Training pathway they’re on, whatever stage of their learning journey, we want to ensure that all learners feel empowered and supported to take up every opportunity available to them.”
Commenting on how the sector is opening doors for learners, Colin Cummins, Director of FET, Tipperary ETB, said:
“Across FET, we’re seeing participation return to pre-pandemic level and we expect our 2022 figures, when they’re published, to reflect a similar activity to that of 2019.
“We’re also seeing a sustained engagement with the eCollege online learning platform which was such an important resource for many during the pandemic.
“It’s a great example of how we can create new routes into learning that makes further education and training accessible to all.”