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National Learning Network Tralee Student wins Silver Medal at Chef Ireland Competition

26 February 2013

Tuesday, 26th February 2013: A catering and culinary skills student at National Learning Network  in Tralee has been awarded a silver medal in this year’s prestigious Chef Ireland event, which took place at the RDS Simmonscourt in Dublin last week. Linda O’Connor from Castleisland secured her silver medal in the Larder Skills Open Class competition, which tested the knife skills of chefs from all over Ireland.

Chef Ireland is an international three-day culinary competition that rewards practical professional cookery and restaurant services. The competition is co-ordinated by the Panel of Chefs of Ireland and is designed to showcase the creativity, skill and imagination of Ireland’s chefs. 

Commenting on Ms O’Connor’s success, Tom Hardiman, catering and culinary skills instructor with National Learning Network in Tralee said,“We are so proud of Linda. Her achievement is all the more outstanding when you consider that she won this award while still in her first year of studies here at National Learning Network. She is undoubtedly a remarkably-talented woman who has a wonderful future ahead of her as a chef.”

Speaking after the event, Ms O’Connor, said that she was delighted to have won a silver medal in the prestigious competition, an achievement she didn’t think possible just a few months ago. “I’ve always had a love of cooking but never had any formal qualifications in catering. Since enrolling in National Learning Network a whole world of new and exciting opportunities have opened up for me. The staff here have encouraged and inspired me to achieve goals that I previously thought unobtainable.

“As part of my course, I now spend one-day a week at the Institute of Technology in Tralee where I’m studying for a Higher Certificate in Culinary. I owe special thanks to TJ O’Connor, head of section at IT Tralee, who entered me for the competition under the guidance of lecturer Dan Browne. In addition to National Learning Network, studying at IT Tralee is a wonderful opportunity for me to further my skills and gain even more qualifications.

“I’m so glad that I took the step to enroll with National Learning Network. In the space of just a few months my life has changed so much. I’ve learned new skills, made new friends, and now I’ve even won a silver medal at national level!”

Rehab’s training and employment division, National Learning Network, is an internationally recognised world leader in the provision of high-quality training and specialist support to people who are distant from the labour market. Each year it supports more than 13,000 people in Ireland to achieve their ambitions.




For more information contact:

Pat O’Neill, Area Manager, National Learning Network, Tralee, Tel: 066 712 2533

Dara Duffy, Communications and Public Affairs, Rehab Group, Tel: 01 2057268


National Learning Network in Kerry

National Learning Network has two centres in Tralee – in Clash Industrial Estate and a satellite service in the Education Centre in Dromtacker – as well as a retail training outlet in Kerry General Hospital. National Learning Network provides training funded by FÁS and the HSE for persons out of work through accident, illness, or disability. The centres currently cater for approximately 160 learners and provide the following vocational programmes, Applied Information Technology, Catering and Culinary Skills, Sporting Chance, Employer Based Training, Business and IT Studies, Retail Sales, Woodwork Multi Skills, and Introductory Skills Training. National Learning Network also provides the following rehabilitative training programmes, Directions and Focus, which cover a range of foundation level personal, social and work related skills. The Focus course, specifically designed for persons experiencing mental health difficulties, caters for 16/18 students at any one time.