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.


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!


Discovering Skills for Work (SFW) at the RDS!

The Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show is one of Ireland’s biggest annual sporting and social events which attracts 100,000 visitors both domestic and foreign.  The 2014 show was also an ideal opportunity to attract a wide range of employment sectors to the Skills for Work promotional stand.

The SFW Regional Co-ordinators provided information and distributed literature on the extensive choice of educational opportunities available to companies under the SFW programme, and the Educational Training Board Adult Education Services.

 “There’s something for everyone at the 141st Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show” and this was very evident by the expression of interest shown by the many visitors to the show who approached the SFW stand enquiring about educational courses. 

Mr Mathew Dempsey President of the RDS, Lord Mayor of Dublin Mr Christy Burke, SFW Regional Co-ordinators Joan Devlin and Margaret Timiney

Mr Mathew Dempsey President of the RDS, Lord Mayor of Dublin Mr Christy Burke, SFW Regional Co-ordinators Joan Devlin and Margaret Timoney

Mr Mathew Dempsey President of the RDS and the Lord Mayor of  Dublin Mr Christ Burke opening the 141 Horse Show

Mr Mathew Dempsey President of the RDS and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Mr Christy Burke opening the 141st Horse Show


Alphabund – German Interest in Skills for Work

Mr Tony Dalton (AEO) LO ETB, SFW Co-ordinators and German Study Visitors Dr. Nicole Lederle and Mandy Böttger at Laois/Offaly ETB

Mr Tony Dalton (AEO) LO ETB, SFW Co-ordinators and German Study Visitors Dr. Nicole Lederle and Mandy Böttger at Laois/Offaly ETB

In response to the findings of the LEO. – Level One Study the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Standing Conference) initiated an Agreement for a joint National Strategy for Literacy and Adult Basic Skills in Germany in 2012.

To support this initiative Dr. Nicole Lederle and her colleague Mandy Böttger came to Ireland to draw on the experiences of a number of organisations involved in adult and literacy interventions including workplace educational programmes.  The study visit also included meeting with other key players such as NALA, DES, SOLAS, ETBs and the QQI.

Skills for Work hosted two sessions which provided information from both a rural and urban perspective with regards to promoting adult education opportunities within the community and the workplace.

Laois Offaly ETB was the venue for the morning session which included presentation from SFW Regional Co-ordinators; Lillian Buckley, (South West), Mary Hennessy, (Mid West), Marian O’Reilly, (Midlands), Mr Tony Dalton, (AEO,) LOETB, Longford Westmeath ETB Adult Literacy Service, and Brian Donnelly, (Community Education Officer), Tipperary ETB.

The afternoon session was hosted by City of Dublin ETB. Contributions to the information exchange focused on the benefits of SFW partnerships with employers and Trade Unions.  Representatives included Joanne Brown, (ICTU), Deborah Kearns (Swissport International), SFW Regional Co-ordinators; Patrice Hamilton, (DDLETB) and Margaret Timoney, (North West).

More information on Alphabund can be found on http://www.alphabund.de/


Success Story for SFW and Tipp Distribution

Tipp Distribution is a registered and licenced haulage company for both national and international distribution. It is located in O’Brien Street in Tipperary town and currently employs 14 permanent local staff and one part time staff member. The main business of the company is the distribution of soft drinks throughout the Munster region for a well know drinks manufacturer.  The company recently became a regional partner to Masterlink Logistics.

Tipp Distribution has an unusual history.  The current managers are former employees of Kiely’s Distribution which went out of business in 2011. When Kiely’s closed the employees had two choices; become unemployed or invest in it themselves to keep the company going.  Three former employees took on the challenging role of running and managing the company and so in June 2011 Tipp Distribution was founded. 

While the staff had great knowledge and experience of the distribution business, they realised that they needed to increase their computer literacy in order to maintain a competitive edge and compete for business in the marketplace.  The team at Tipp Distribution pride themselves on being loyal, flexible and adaptable in their skills and abilities.

Michael Toomey Senior, the Business Development, Distribution and Logistics Manager, saw a flyer for Skills for Work and contacted Tipperary ETB’s Adult Learning Scheme.  Soon after, a group from the company joined Skills for Work basic IT programme with the Adult Learning Centre in Tipperary Town. The course was a huge success and two further programmes were offered to the workers. Through the Skills for Work programme the workers acquired skills in emailing, Internet, Excel and Word Processing which gave them the confidence to advance the company’s business in the labour market.

Some of the SFW participants from Tipp Distribution

Some of the SFW participants from Tipp Distribution

These new skills proved a huge bonus with the workers when their company tendered successfully for a major distribution contract. One of the stipulations of the contract was that the workers were expected to be competent in using hand held computer devices when out and about on company business.  It is a tribute to the experience and commitment of the staff that the company is not only still going strong but is currently recruiting new staff to join the workforce.

Upskilling of the labour force is part of the National Skills Strategy and the story of Tipp Distribution demonstrates the benefits for workers availing of educational opportunities in their local area.  The OECD’s International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), 2012 highlighted the need across the OECD to upskill in the area of problem solving in technology rich environments.  Again, Skills for Work has had a very strong and positive role in supporting this initiative in Tipperary town.

We wish Tipp Distribution long and continued success in their business.



Skills for Work at the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD) Conference


Skills for Work was one of the representative groups invited to attend the recent CIPD Ireland Annual Conference in Dublin Castle.


Based in Dublin, CIPD Ireland has more than 5,000 members spread across seven regional branches. With 75 years experience, CIPD are committed to supporting the ever-changing needs of the local Human Resource and business communities.  SFW welcomed the opportunity to attend the conference and to promote the Skills for Work programme to the HR managers who represented a wide range of businesses. 



Skills for Work Farmers Groups at the Balmoral Show!

SAMSUNG SFW Famers  group at Balmoral

A group of 65 farmers from across Co. Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) travelled to the Balmoral Show in Belfast on Friday 16th May. Balmoral Show is one of Ireland’s largest Agricultural Shows, with daily displays of livestock at the new show grounds in Balmoral Park.

Skills for Work (SFW) farmer groups from Ballyshannon, Donegal Town, Finn Valley, Letterkenny and Inishowen attended the show as part of an educational project.  This also served as a valuable networking opportunity for Skills for Work participants across the county.

The farmers have been attending SFW Communications and Computers courses. These courses are tailor-made to suit the needs of the farming community. The skills developed on these courses included, using the internet to access Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine information and forms, form filling online, letter writing, emailing queries, and using the computer to improve farm record keeping.

SFW participants also have access to an online training facility, specifically designed for Skills for Work participants by the Dept of Agriculture, Food & Marine and supported by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and TEAGASC. This excellent resource allows farmers to gain the skills needed for online registration.

Feedback by the SFW participants was very positive and for many it was their first time attending the show. SFW look forward to welcoming returning and new participants to our farmer courses running nationally in September/October 2014


Recent Study Visit to Ireland by Croatian Delegates

In partnership with the Department of Education & Skills (DES) and the Skills for Work Programme, Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB and Wicklow Kildare ETB hosted a recent study visit to 11 delegates from Croatia. 

The study visit focused on Ireland’s experience and practice in developing literacy, key competencies and adult learning as part of the countries activities under the European Agenda for Adult Learning project.

During the course of their visit to the Adult Education Service, Tallaght, a number of presentations took place including information on the DEBATE Project http://www.thedebateproject.net/ presented by Melíosa Bracken.

The delegates also had an opportunity to meet with tutors and students.

“The whole visit was perfect from start to finish and we have gained so much knowledge which is very useful to us” (Darko Belović , head of Department for Vocational Education and Adult Education, Croatia.)


Darko Belović , Terry McCann AEO with the Croatian Study Visit Team

Darko Belović , Terry McCann (AEO) with the Croatian Study Visit Team


Skills for Work Celebrates FETAC success

Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board was delighted to welcome Ms. Marian Lynch, the National Skills For Work Co-ordinator and SOLAS representative, to our FETAC awards ceremony in Dún Laoghaire recently. 


SFW Participants with Teresa McHale (Dun Laoghaire)

SFW Participants with Teresa McHale (Dun Laoghaire)


Marian addressed a very full house comprising several hundred Adult and Community Based Education learners who had successfully achieved FETAC accreditation. That number included 40 Skills For Work learners who had undertaken accreditation at FETAC Level 3 in areas such as Maths, Communications, Internet Skills and Personal Effectiveness.

Marian praised the dedication of the learners, tutors and Skills For Work co-ordinators nationally for the wonderful work and outcomes which are being achieved through this most successful initiative. Marian went on to congratulate the learners on their achievements as she presented their Certificates and urged them to continue on their learning journeys with the support of their employers who were also well represented on the night.

Marian Lynch Speaking at the  Dun Laoghaire FETAC Awards


Skills for Work – Civic Reception with City of Cork Lord Mayor


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.

The SFW Regional Co-ordinators at the Council Chambers, City Hall, with Councillor Catherine Clancy, Lord Mayor of Cork.

The SFW Regional Co-ordinators at the Council Chambers, City Hall, with Councillor Catherine Clancy, Lord Mayor of Cork.

SFW regional Co-ordinator (Mid-Lands) Marian O’Reilly presenting Councillor Catherine Clancy Lord Mayor of Cork with a copy of the book  “History’s Daughter by  Máire MacSwiney

SFW regional Co-ordinator (Mid-Lands) Marian O’Reilly presenting Councillor Catherine Clancy Lord Mayor of Cork with a copy of the book “History’s Daughter by Máire MacSwiney


Celadon theme by the Themes Boutique