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National Learning Network Students Graduate in Style with Special Musical Guest

11 January 2010
Image for National Learning Network Students Graduate in Style with Special Musical Guest
A total of 34 people received certificates across a wide variety of courses, all accredited by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC). The centre, located on the Leitrim road in Carrick-on-Shannon, has a stunning success rate for graduates with over 80 per cent of learners having progressed to employment or to further training in the last five years.
Commenting on the big day, Sharon Thornton, Assistant Manager for National Learning Network in Leitrim, said, “This is a wonderful day for our graduates and is a great way of celebrating the hard work, commitment and dedication that they have put in over the last year. It has been a very exciting year here in National Learning Network’s Carrick-on-Shannon centre with the development of a number of new initiatives, so there is much cause for celebration today.
“In May, learners founded a partnership with the newly-established Leitrim Advocacy Service. In addition to this, 2009 saw the forging of new links with the Leitrim Youth Project and the undertaking of joint social activities with learners. The centre’s social club has also moved to the Breffni community centre, offering increased autonomy for people and enabling involvement in a variety of community groups. These developments have led to a more dynamic and independent lifestyle for learners, allowing them to engage with peers, employers and other organisations within their community.”
Mary McKeeney knows all about the benefits of such active learning. Mary, a participant on the Kickstart programme volunteered to host a coffee morning with Leitrim’s Special Olympics committee, and raised €600 in the process. Mary says, “I really enjoyed organising the event and dealing with the public. I feel I have gained a lot from the Kickstart programme. I am more confident, and feel much more positive about the future. I am so happy I did it; it has transformed my life and has done more than I could have imagined for my self-esteem.”
National Learning Network is the training and employment division of the Rehab Group. In Leitrim, National Learning Network currently caters for over 30 people offering a number of vocational and rehabilitative training opportunities. All courses are specifically designed to enable people with disabilities and others who are marginalised to acquire the skills that they need to build lasting careers in jobs that reflect their interests and abilities. These programmes allow learners to sample a wide range of vocational options and to develop the skills, knowledge, confidence and resources to access employment, higher training and other options in the wider community.
National Learning Network offers a variety of courses including Employer-based Training, Information Technology by Distance Learning, the Kickstart programme and New Voyages, all funded by FÁS. The Employer Based Training programme enables 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 to prepare them for jobs in their local communities, in home-based enterprises or to progress to further education.
The Kickstart programme provides learners with a range of personal, social and work related skills, and helps them achieve greater levels of independence and community integration. Learners also experience improved health and social gain, as they identify achievable goals leading on to further training, education or employment. Finally, the New Voyages course offers learners who experience a high level of social and community isolation with the opportunity to develop personal and social skills, to make independent choices and to explore recreational, social and vocational options.
For further information, contact:
Sharon Thornton, National Learning Network, Carrick-on-Shannon
Tel: 071 965 0693