Roscommon Childcare students feted

The achievements of 85 childcare students were celebrated at a recent gala awards night at Cuisle in Donamon, where students, service providers and their families gathered for the celebrations. The gala night was opened by Irene Cafferky, Manager of Roscommon County Childcare Committee who also acted as MC for the occasion. Irene welcomed all present, especially the recipients of awards and certificates. Guest speakers on the night included Tom Crosby, Chairperson of County Roscommon VEC, Tom Costello the Chair of the Board of Roscommon County Childcare Committee who is also the Adult Education Officer of County Roscommon VEC. Siobhan McCabe represented FETAC the Further Education Training and Awards Council. Irene outlined how the National Training Strategy for Childcare has a national target of 17,000 fully trained childcare staff by 2010. The minimum recommended qualification is a FETAC Level 5 or an equivalent international award. In County Roscommon the participation levels in Childcare training is very good, both in the FETAC Level 5 accredited courses and the other courses/programmes. A new development at present is the provision of a part time degree on an outreach basis in County Roscommon in conjunction with Sligo IT. Irene explained that students with FETAC Level 5 and/or 6 may be able to gain credits and may be exempt from certain subjects in year one of the degree. Tom Costello congratulated all present on their achievements. He went on to explain that while many childcare workers had valuable ‘hands on’ experience of raising families of their own that it was vital that they supplemented this experiential learning with training and educational initiatives that were available. He complimented all recipients on their achievements. Tom Crosby, Chairperson of County Roscommon VEC, congratulated all recipients on reaching this milestone in their further education. He described how the VEC is delighted to organise educational activities in collaboration with the RCCC. He also listed other courses/programmes, which the VEC provide throughout the county. Siobhan McCabe who is an external examiner based in Cavan College of Further Education represented FETAC. Siobhan elaborated on how FETAC were established in 2001 as a result of the Qualifications Act 1999. FETAC certifies awards from Level 1 through to Level 6 on the National Qualifications Framework. Over half a million awards have been made since 2001 in a wide range of courses. FETAC has been meeting the needs of learners by placing learners at the centre of the its vision. Learners are given great flexibility in how they obtain their award through the modular system. She complimented the learners who were present in that they are all part time learners and many combine learning with full time jobs and family commitments. She stressed the point that those receiving component certificates and full awards all hold national accreditation that is recognised all over Ireland and abroad. She urged learners who had completed some modules to continue on in order to gain their full major award in Childcare. She complimented the VEC in gaining its FETAC Quality Assurance in July 2006.  Siobhan warmly congratulated all learners and acknowledged the role that families and friends played in helping learners in successfully completing a module or award. Twelve students achieved their major award and they were presented with their certificates by Bernie Morris the Senior Development Officer with FAS who is also the Chairperson of the Training, Equality and Childminding sub committee of the RCCC.  Tom Crosby MCC, Mark Kennedy Chair of the VEC Adult Education Board and Siobhan McCabe of FETAC presented the remaining component certificates to the other 68 students who were present on the night.  The 110 students who participated in modules during the previous academic year attended courses in Ballaghaderreen, Castlerea, Boyle and Roscommon. Ann McNamara praised all learners on the realisation of their learning goals. She also thanked VEC admin staff Martina Carroll, Maria Harris Maloney and Sabrina Kenny who help out in the childcare programme behind the scenes.  She also expressed gratitude to the talented part time childcare tutors who teach modules at night.  The tutors who were mentioned on the night were Linda Madden, Susan Madden, Natalie Hanley, Michelle McMorrow, Siobhan Hardiman, Claire Connolly, Kathleen McNulty, Mary Duignan, Roy Henry and Eddie Flanagan.  Ann also thanked Tom Costello who manages the Adult Education Service in County Roscommon VEC. The official part of the evening was closed by Irene Cafferky who congratulated and thanked all present who had made the evening a success and in particular the learners who attended to celebrate the achievements.  Refreshments were provided by the catering staff of Cuisle and dancing to music by the popular band Sundance ensured that it was an enjoyable occasion for all present.