Speaking at the certification event, Delores Kelly, a student on the Access programme, acknowledged the support she has received in National Learning Network. “It has helped me to improve my self-confidence and to manage being independent in the outside world and it has also supported me in making my decision to progress to the Vocational Skills Foundation course in Swords, which I will be starting next week. The Access course has also helped me to learn how to cook and also taught me how to manage my money better and has improved my literacy. Before I came onto the Access programme, I was very shy and didn’t mix with strangers. I thought I would have been like this for most of my life. Now I feel comfortable around people and I feel better about mixing and having fun with people.”
Other students speaking at the event had great things to say about their experiences in National Learning Network. “After 11 years out of work following a family tragedy and being a person in my 50’s, I thought I would never get back to work but coming to the Fast Track programme in NLN got me started again and built my confidence, including learning new computer skills. I now I have a full-time job as head groundsman in a local conference centre and it is great”. These are the words of Seán Cantwell, past student in NLN.
Brian Lawler, past student on the IT Business programme explained how it really helped him: “I came to the IT Business course after a personal setback and it helped build my confidence as well as giving me new skills. The support from my Tutor and the Psychologist, who were always available if you needed additional support was great for me and I found this support and the relaxed atmosphere very helpful. I am now working in a food business in Dublin Airport and am very happy with what I have achieved”.
Students from across North Dublin were presented with awards following the completion of a range of QQI certified courses designed to support people to enter into or return to employment or progress to further education. The programmes, which are funded by the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education Training Board (DDLETB) include Fresh Start, IT with Office Skills, Fast Track to Employment, Vocational Skills Foundation. In partnership with the HSE, NLN offers the Access programme, Choices, Reach and Delvin. These programmes build people’s confidence and independence, whilst also preparing them for the next steps to employment, further education and training.
Alan Mullen, last year’s leader on RTÉ’s Operation Transformation programme who presented the students with their certificates said, “I’m delighted to be here tonight to talk to everyone about my experiences and I would like to congratulate each and every one of the students here on receiving their certificates. I know from my experience the effort it takes to change your life and for those of you who had to overcome various challenges and barriers to get to where you are this evening, it’s a brilliant achievement and I’d like to say well done to you. I would also like to wish each of the students the very best of luck in the future and to always remember to be proud of all that you have achieved so far.”
John Costello, Area Manager, National Learning Network in Swords, said, “This is a night of great celebration for our students. Each graduate here today is receiving a nationally recognised award, which is a testament to their commitment and hard work while here in National Learning Network. It’s great to see them now reaping the benefits of their learning, either in further education or in local employment. We have students here tonight who are already in employment. One of our students is a Head Groundsman in a conference centre in Swords and another is currently working in a food outlet in Dublin Airport. There are also students who have gone onto a variety of external courses, including QQI level 6 courses in Whitehall College and Coláiste Dhulaigh. All of the staff here in National Learning Network congratulate all of the students and we wish them every success in the future.”
National Learning Network works on a continuous intake basis throughout the year and if you are interested in furthering your skills or getting support to get a job, please contact the centre in Swords directly on 01 8404120 or go to www.nln.ie NLN is a part of Rehab, which provides services directly to over 30,000 people in Ireland and the UK every year.