Councillor Catherine Clancy, Lord Mayor of Cork welcomed the SFW co-ordinators to Cork and to the Council Chamber at the City Hall. As part of her address the Lord Mayor congratulated the co-ordinators on the excellent work they were doing in sourcing workers and encouraging them to engage in education. The Lord Mayor also highlighted the many benefits the SFW programme had for employers and their workers and the importance of up-skilling within the current economic and employment climate.
The visit with the Lord Mayor was part of the two day conference in Cork for the SFW Regional Co-ordinators.
Following extensive European research and a very successful series of conference in Poland by Marian Lynch, the Skills for Work for programme was identified as being a very effective workplace education model with great potential for transferability to Poland.
As a result, Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education & Training Board (DDLETB) and the Skills for Work programme hosted five study visits for 50 Polish delegates during November and December 2013. The delegates represented both government and non- government agencies in Poland and their purpose was to find out how Skills for Work operated in Ireland and to gather ideas for its implementation in Poland.
Teresa McHale, DDLETB, and the Skills for Work Co-ordinators, arranged site visits to a broad range of employers and employees who have successfully engaged with the Skills for Work programme. The delegates were able to hear first-hand from management and their employees on the benefits of engaging with SFW.
While it was a fairly complex undertaking feedback from all the delegates was exceptionally positive. They particularly noted the strong organisational structure and the transparency of approach which is a hallmark of the Skills for Work programme. They were also very impressed with the proactive approach taken by the regional co-ordinators and by the networking and relationship building that goes on across the country bringing employees, employers and ETBs together. They also recognised the very successful partnership that produced substantial learning outcomes for course participants to the benefit of both the employee and employer organisations.
The delegates, pictured below working on implementation plans, left Ireland having gained an in-depth understanding of the great work that is achieved through Skills for Work and having concrete proposals as to how they intend to implement the programme in the Lodz area of Poland.
MINISTER JOAN BURTON T.D. VISITING THE SKILLS FOR WORK STAND AT THE RECENT PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has been working very closely with SFW to provide training to support farmers return their accounts on-line. The department has designed a “training” website which allows farmers practise using the website while at the same time improving basic reading and writing skills. Participants have reported that the training site is an excellent way to practice completing department compliance certificates and revenue returns.
This facility has been specifically designed and provided by the Dept of Agriculture, Food & Marine for SFW participants and supported by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and Teagasc.
The Skills for Work farmers online herd registration training project aims to give farmers the confidence and skills to register stock to the Department of Agriculture using computers to replace the current paper based system. The project started as a pilot in County Clare during the winter of 2011 and now has a national uptake. The training is delivered in small groups by ETB adult literacy tutors who have received specific training by the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine on the operations of the on- line site.
The department continues to support this initiative and offers advice to SFW tutors on an on-going basis.
Participants receiving on-site training (FMRC)
Skills for Work, in partnership with the Farm Release Service Network (FRS) designed and delivered a certificate course for Milk Operators. The course was developed and designed by Co. Wicklow VEC and included aspects of health and hygiene, numeracy, record keeping and practical (on site) training. The course was aimed at up-skilling farm relief staff and familiarising them with different milk operation systems. Local farmers provided the use of their farms as part of the practical training session. As a result, farm relief workers were more effective and confident using varying types of milking systems on farms, as well as being more knowledgeable about herd management and animal handling.
Skills for Work (SFW) was one of the many exhibitors in the Duhallow Education Marquee at the National Ploughing Championships 2013 in Ratheniska, County Laois.
A recording breaking crowd of 228,000 from all over Ireland attended the event which created a worthwhile opportunity to raise an awareness of the Skills for Work Programme. Farming families and city folk blended together in a spirit of good humour and eagerness to enjoy a memorable day and hopefully” bag a bargain”.
Promotion of SFW got off to an early start with people arriving from 8am onwards. SFW Regional Co-ordinators were on hand each day to listen, chat, persuade and encourage people to returning to education. It was an ideal opportunity to promote the extensive range of courses available through the Education and Training Boards (ETB), and especially the courses aimed at addressing workplace education needs through the SFW programme.
Being very creative and “always on the job” the co-ordinators provided information to all those who approached the stand so that the SFW message would be passed on to friends, parents, work colleagues etc.
It was particularly heartening also to meet those who recognised the SFW logo and were delighted to tell us that they had attended SFW courses and how they had benefited from them.
The response from people interested in signing up for SFW courses was fantastic! Now the next task is to plough through the list of applicants to set up the courses to start them on their learning journey.
Bring on next year!
Following a very successful visit to Poland by Marian Lynch the SFW National Co-ordinator, 50 delegates have been selected to visit Ireland on a study visit to learn more about the Irish SFW programme.
The Polish government are very interested in setting up a Skills for Work programme to support the educational training of their workers. SFW is working very closely with the Work Research Centre (WRC) to ensure the visit is productive and fruitful. A number of companies have already indicated their interest in meeting with the delegates to share their experiences and the benefits to their workers who have completed SFW courses. The Polish delegation will include employers, Government Organisations and Non-Government Organisations. The study visits will take place over five weeks starting 14th October. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In a recent email to City of Dublin ETB Majella Rickard of DIAMOND INNOVATIONS wrote-
“Just a short note to thank you and the ‘Skills For Work’ tutors for the wonderful work done…
As a result of your initiative in contacting the company 28 of our employees were offered the opportunity to become involved in the Communications through Computers’ programme.
Of the employees who took part in the training sessions 18 have achieved Level 3 certification, a fantastic achievement.
All have commented on the value they found in working with the great tutors that attended weekly, and also on the very valuable experience gained on the course.
From my point of view this programme was one of the most positive initiatives we undertook to help employees leaving the business.”
Marian Lynch, the National Skills for Work Co-ordinator, will be the Key Speaker at a series of conferences taking place in Poland (September 22nd – 25th).
Members of Government, Non-government Organisations and employers are very interested in setting up workplace programmes across Poland.
The SFW National Co-ordinator will be focusing on the success of the SFW programme in Ireland and on the Irish Government’s national strategy as part of the recent Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) to up-skill those in employment.
The presentation will also promote the extensive range of Irish educational opportunities aimed at unemployed adults wishing to return to learning.
The National Ploughing Championships takes place each year in the month of September. This year Skills for Work will be taking part in the event as part of the exhibition section on “Education” SFW Regional Co-ordinators will be available each day throughout the event promoting workplace educational opportunities.
The SFW stand is located in Block 1, Row B, Stand No. 531
The 2013 Championships will be held at Rathensika, Stradbally, County Laois on September 24th – 26th..