Balancing Work and Education

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you [Patrice Hamilton] for all your assistance in facilitating the Skills for Work programme which was undertaken by our Healthcare Assistants, Central Mental Hospital.  On carrying out a Training Needs Analysis we identified a number of key areas where training was required for this new cohort of staff. However we were struggling with the format for delivering this training so your initial phone call was most timely. Our subsequent meetings allowed us to clarify how we might go about sourcing this training and your interviews with the staff was a great help in tailoring training according to staff individual needs. I believe that this process was much more effective when carried out by someone like yourself who is unconnected to our service in the CMH as it removed the employee / employer dynamic from the situation. In addition your professional background was ideal for carrying out this initial important piece of work.


I also appreciate the understanding you showed when we came to discuss the methodology of delivering the actual programmes, balancing the HCAs needs with the service needs of the NFMHS. Initial feedback from the participants on both courses is that where they may have had some apprehension, especially those staff who had been out of formal education for many years, both you as the overall facilitator and the tutors on the two courses have engaged the participants in the learning process in a very positive, supportive manner. Hopefully this will encourage some of them to consider further personal development options in the future.

Again thank you for the work done so far and I look forward to exploring with you how our HCA staff might progress their training in the future.


Yours truly,


Paul McKenna

Assistant Director of Nursing




Kerry Foods Workers Give up Weekends to attend SFW Courses


Charleville SfW group

Three Skills for Work course are being delivered to Kerry Foods employees in Charleville, Co. Cork. All the employees are based in the Cheese Section and work three shift rosters, day, evening and night shifts. Due to the nature of their shift patterns and their enthusiasm in engaging with Skills for Work, both the company and workers were very happy to embrace the option of attending their course during the weekend.

The Kerry Foods employee courses takes place at the Mannix College, Charleville for three hours each Saturday.



SFW “Addresses a Variety of Needs and Interest” at MSD Swords!

logo_MSD_be_well(Pharmaceutical Supplies Manufacturer)

Just a note to thank you for all your help in co-ordinating the upskilling programme at MSD Swords.  It was a great success and didn’t have a single blip in the execution.  This is a credit to your personal organization and to the professionalism of the instructors who integrated wonderfully with our organization.  I especially appreciate your assistance in lining everyone especially as it was the summer period, everyone was empowered to deliver on the agreed contract.


Several of the participants commented to me personally on the quality of the instruction and the positive learning environment the instructors created.  These same colleagues confessed their fear/awkwardness with technology and their relief to finally participate in an upskilling programme.  27 colleagues attended the programme, in 4 different classrooms, across 4 days.   The instructors did a wonderful job, using the assessment tool to rebalance the classes on day one and then dynamically adjusting the learning plan to address the variety of needs and interests in the groups.


Given the vital role IT has in our business, we are delighted with the return on the time investment we have made in this upskilling programme.  The participants themselves not only feel better about using IT at work, but also are more confident about using IT at home  e.g. “the PC at home that I never use”.  This was a unique opportunity for us as a company.  Your flexibility in delivering this programme helped us achieve something we would struggle to deliver in more conventional schedule over a period of weeks/months.


Please extend my gratitude to the instructors and to your own support team who worked with us to make this happen. I hope we might be able to collaborate again in the future on another programme. 


With best regards



 Bruce Harley 




Celebrate learning! Health & Safety certificates for staff from Eddie Rockets.

SFW particiapnts from Eddie Rockets ( Balnchardstown)

Congratulations to this group of dedicated staff from Eddie Rockets in the Blanchardstown Centre. They have just successfully completed a Health and Safety Awareness programme at NFQ Level 3 delivered by the Blanchardstown Adult Education Service and funded by the Skills For Work programme. With the support and encouragement of their employer, they attended classes on Tuesday mornings before the diner opened for the day’s business. They are pictured here with their Fire Safety Awareness certs, which they got as part of their course.

The staff members got a good grounding in health and safety. Importantly they also got the confidence to make sure they and their colleagues were putting it into practice in the kitchen, serving and customer areas. In fact, such was the success of the course their employer has decided to engage with the Skills for Work programme once again for other groups of staff in the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre and Drogheda branches.


Skills for Work Wins Nationwide Star Award!

Skills for Work being presented with their  Nationwide Star Award

Skills for Work being presented with their Nationwide Star Award

Skills for Work (SFW) were delighted to accept the Nationwide Star Award at the AONTAS Star Awards Ceremony at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin.   

Skills for Work is a national programme aimed at providing educational  training opportunities to help employees deal with the basic skills demands of the workplace. SFW is working with adults in employment who have achieved less than upper second level education or with outdated skills. A SFW programme includes a variety of subjects which supports the needs of employers and employees.

More than 300 people attend the presentation ceremony which was held in conjunction with the opening of AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival.  The Award Ceremony recognised the importance of adult learning projects in combating a range of issues such as upskilling in the workplace, disability, unemployment, and the isolation of older people.

For more information log on to www.skillsforwork.ie or email info@skillsforwork.ie


One Million On-line Registrations

Skills for Work and its delivery of the Farmers On –line Training Course to farmers were very encouraged by a report in the Irish Independent recently on the increase in farmers using the Departments on-line site to return their calf registrations. The support provided by SFW to farmers as part of their course which is delivered locally by the ETB has no doubt contributed greatly to “breaking the million barrier for the first time ever”.

The report (Darragh McCullough, 27th January 2015) noted that “paperwork in farming is rapidly becoming a thing of the past – not due to any red-tape, but because farmers are moving more and more of their Department interaction on-line”.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said “The use of the electronic herd registration removes the requirement to maintain the ‘blue book’, which reduces paperwork, errors, and the risk of penalties arising at cross compliance inspections”.

For more information on the Skills for Work Farmers on–line Training Course contact; info@skillsforwork.ie


SFW Short listed for AONTAS Star Awards 2015!

Aontas star award 15Skills for Work has been short listed as one of the projects in the running to receive the 2015 Star Award.  39 projects have been selected by an independent STAR Awards Judging Panel. The STAR Awards (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) are an awards initiative coordinated by AONTAS as part of the annual Adult Learners’ Festival to acknowledge the fantastic work undertaken by adult learning projects throughout Ireland.

The names of the winners will be announced at the STAR Awards ceremony on February 23rd in the Ballsbridge Hotel.


ALOA and Skills for Work!

SFW Regional Co-Ordinators Margaret Timoney (NW) & Mairtin O'Moran (W) at the ALOA Conference

The Adult Literacy Organiser Forum (ALOA) invited SFW to facilitate a workshop at their recent conference in Galway. The theme of the workshop was “Promoting Numeracy in the Workplace”.

SFW Regional Co-ordinators Margaret Timoney (North West SFW region) and Mairtin O’ Moran (West region) presentation covered topics such as the type of  maths required for the various employment sectors e.g.; agriculture, food & beverage, catering, retail and tourism.   

Information was also provided on how SFW promoted Mathematical Skills for Work to employers and employees, including the benefits of using an integrated subject approach to improving literacy and numeracy skills.


Upcoming Event! National Ploughing Championships September 2014.

23rd, 24th, 25th September 2014!


National Ploughing__

Plans are underway again for the National Ploughing Championships  to be held at Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois. 

Due to the success at last year’s event Skills for Work will be promoting a wide range of educational courses to the many thousands of visitors attending the event over the three days.  

You’ll find us at Stand 502!

Celadon theme by the Themes Boutique