27 Sept 2022

Successful education and training showcase in Stranorlar

Fifth successful Celebration of Lifelong Learning event

Successful education and training showcase in Stranorlar

Speakers and guests at the successful Education and Training Showcase by Donegal Local Development Company a Celebration of Lifelong Learning which was held in the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar

Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) hosted its fifth successful Celebration of Lifelong Learning event in the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar, recently.

This event which was attended by in excess of 250 people created an exciting opportunity for adults to meet exhibitors face to face to explore their opportunities to engage in education, training or lifelong learning.

Exhibitors included Donegal ETB, Donegal Library, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Donegal County Council (Library Service), Jigsaw, and Different Strokes for Different Folks and I Recovery College.

A section of the crowd at the successful Education and Training Showcase by Donegal Local Development Company a Celebration of Lifelong Learning in the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar on Friday last. 

Opening the event, Padraic Fingleton, chief executive DLDC noted that training and lifelong learning continue to be very important to DLDC in terms of the supports offered to staff as well as to its clients. He urged everyone to explore opportunities available to them and to make the most of what is on offer.

Welcoming everyone to the event, Patsy McMonagle, chairperson, DLDC, said he was delighted to see people turn out in huge numbers year after year for this event.

Echoing the sentiments expressed by Mr Fingleton, he also noted that DLDC has a strong tradition of delivering education, training and lifelong learning opportunities across DLDC catchment area and this was made possible with the excellent working relationship that DLDC has with a range of other providers and agencies.

Padraic Fingleton, chief executive, DLDC, Patsy McMonagle, chairperson, DLDC and Susan Kierce Marsh, SICAP co-ordinator for Lifelong Learning at the event.

He also acknowledged the huge number of DLDC programmes that were also in attendance on the day such as the Refugee Resettlement Programme, Jobs Club, Co-Sync Community Health Programme, TUS/RSS, Donegal Volunteer Centre, Community Development and Employment/Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.

He noted the ongoing success of these programmes in delivering supports on the ground to individuals across our catchment area.

He also highlighted the important role that education has played in his own life and he encouraged the audience to make the most of the opportunities that are available to them either via DLDC supports or via any of the other agencies that are present today.

Guest speakers, Shane Toland, Ballyshannon and District Museum, Sheila Archbold, Bundoran Community Centre, Susan Kierce Marsh, SICAP co-ordinator for Lifelong Learning, Gerry Grant and Paul McDaid

Acknowledging that this event also coincided with Mental Health Awareness week, MC Gerry Grant introduced the first of the guest speakers, Bill Vaughan from Mental Health Ireland.

Mr Vaughan spoke of the importance of good mental health to support wellbeing generally and acknowledged the work that DLDC carried out in the area across many of its programme and how he was delighted to be a part of it.

Sheila Archbold, Bundoran Community Centre, spoke movingly of the challenges that faced her group in getting started and how with the help of DLDC staff, these challenges continue to be overcome. She noted that she was delighted to see so many organisations in attendance.

Shane Toolan, chairman, Ballyshannon and District Museum, spoke passionately about the support that the museum had received from DLDC and the extremely positive impact that the TUS programme has with its participants.

He noted that all previous TUS participants in the museum had subsequently secured employment. He thanked DLDC for such a ‘can do’ attitude to overcoming difficulties for both community groups and their scheme participants.

Patrick McDaid, schemes manager, Aisling Sharkey, DLDC and Liam Mailey, Convoy Community and Enviromental at the showcase event

Paul McDaid, Rural Social Scheme participant, gave a personal testament to the supports that he has received. He noted that farming can be quite isolating and that the Rural Social Scheme has enhanced both his confidence and skills. He urged members of the audience to explore the supports available to them under this scheme.

Final remarks were made by Susan Kierce Marsh, SICAP co-ordinator for Lifelong Learning, who highlighted the huge variety of supports to individuals to support them on their Lifelong Learning journey both within DLDC and amongst the exhibitors.

She acknowledged the huge positivity in the room and the tremendous buzz all morning as participants engaged with exhibitors and networked with one another. She thanked the speakers for their insightful comments and openness.

She also thanked her colleagues in DLDC for attending and supporting this celebration event each year and the Exhibitors for giving their time so generously. Her final thanks were reserved for the attendees at the event who continued to attend this annual event in such huge numbers.

In closing the event, Mr Grant thanked the staff and volunteers in the Finn Valley Centre for their continued support in delivering another successful event.

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