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Donegal National Learning Network Students Celebrate Graduation

06 July 2010

Tuesday, 6th July 2010: A group of graduates from National Learning Network in Donegal were today presented with certificates marking their attainment of nationally-recognised qualifications at a ceremony that took place in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny.

A total of 70 people received certificates at the event from Andrew Kernan, a local employer and long-term supporter of National Learning Network. Mr Kernan employs a large number of people with disabilities in his retail stores that are located throughout Donegal. The Awards presented to National Learning Network students are accredited by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), the European Computer Driving Licence, Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), and City & Guilds. In the past year, over 90% of people who have completed programmes at the National Learning Network centre on Rossview Business Park, Port Road in Letterkenny have progressed to employment and to further training/education.

Speaking at the event, Mura Herron, Manager for National Learning Network in Letterkenny, said, “Today marks an important milestone for our graduates. Through their hard work and dedication, they have achieved awards which are nationally-recognised and provide a valuable stepping stone to further training, education or employment. All the staff here at National Learning Network in Letterkenny join me in congratulating the graduates and wishing them every success in the future.”

National Learning Network is the training and employment division of Rehab. In Donegal, National Learning Network currently caters for up to 70 people from the surrounding areas and throughout the county with both vocational and rehabilitative training. The courses are specifically designed to enable people with disabilities and others who are marginalised to learn the skills that they need to build lasting careers in jobs that reflect their interests and abilities.

The National Learning Network centre in Letterkenny work in collaboration with local employers in areas that include construction, childcare, retail, hospitality and leisure, to name but a few. The support of these employers – including guest of honour, Andrew Kernan of Kernans’ retail stores – and the diversity of training that they offer to learners, is a key ingredient in the success of the many work experience and job placements organised by the centre.

Community integration is a core component of National Learning Network courses and students in Donegal have access to a wide range of resources and facilities within their local communities, including the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Cara House, Aura Leisure Centre, Arena 7, The VEC, The North West Regional College and various other community mental health support groups.

In partnership with FÁS, National Learning Network offers the Employer-Based Training, IT by Distance Learning and JobStart vocational training courses in Donegal.

The Employer-Based Training programme enables the participants to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to gain and retain employment while partaking in on-the-job training in the business area of their choice. The IT by Distance Learning course is aimed at those who want to study at home and gain IT and enterprise skills either to prepare them for jobs in their local communities, in home-based enterprises and in teleworking, or to progress to further education.

JobStart is a flexible programme that provides students with the opportunity to develop essential introductory-level skills in the centre and in a work environment so that they can progress to further training, education or employment.

The centre also offers the rehabilitative programmes Access, Advance and Prospects in partnership with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Access provides participants with the opportunity to sample a wide range of vocational options and to develop the skills, knowledge, confidence and resources to access employment, further training and other options in the wider community.

Advance provides students with the skills to enable them to progress to introductory or specific skills training, to other training and education programmes or to employment.

Prospects equips participants with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism with essential strategies and techniques to enable them to enhance their quality of life.

In attendance at the ceremony were students of National Learning Network, both past and present, their families and friends. Guests from National Learning Network, FÁS, the HSE, FETAC and representatives from voluntary organisations in the local community were also in attendance. Following the presentation of certificates, refreshments were served and guests had the opportunity to mingle with students and staff from the centre.


For further information, contact:

Mura Herron, National Learning Network, Letterkenny,
Tel: 074 916 8288, Email:


Dara Duffy, Rehab,

Tel: 01 205 7268, Email: