16th February 2022

Liberties College Dublin hosted not one but two local networking events on Wednesday 16th February as part of the Erasmus+ Eduwork.Net project. With the help of CDETB’s Employer Engagement Unit and the Workplace Co-ordinators in our FET colleges, over 35 employers were invited from a range of industries such as construction/engineering, healthcare, hospitality and local councils. We also had representatives from business including marketing, digital media and property management companies along with representatives from the Department of Social Protection and employment offices attending the events.

Due to the substantial numbers and in line with COVID19 restrictions the event was held in two rooms in the Liberties College with a full agenda for each group. The groups were welcomed by Dr Christy Duffy, Chief Executive, CDETB and John Moriarty, Director of Transformation and Knowledge (FET). The agenda included presentations from the CDETB Employer Engagement Unit outlining the range of training options available within CDETB colleges and training centres including apprenticeships, traineeships, Skills to Advance, Skills for Work and Explore.

Áine Daly from Coláiste Dhúlaigh spoke about her role as a Workplace Co-ordinator and the different programmes her college are involved in such as traineeships in Logistics and & Forklift License and a Tourism and Hospitality Traineeship. She addressed the benefits to employers of engaging with the different training initiatives such as Skills to Advance which support small to medium enterprises to invest in and develop their workforce so they can adapt to changes in technology, markets and work practices. She also outlined some of the challenges and identified the importance of collaboration between the provider and the employer as the key objective to ensure a successful programme.

Margaret Corbett from the Employer Engagement Unit outlining the differentWBL options.

Greg Byrne, a workplace mentor from BAM Ireland, provided an overview from the employer’s perspective. BAM Ireland have participated in a traineeship programme with Finglas Training Centre and have taken on four trainees over the last two years. Greg spoke about the importance of spending time with the trainee and providing sufficient opportunities for them to use their existing skills as well as encouraging them to develop new skills. He identified the links between the technical skills learned during off-the-job training in the training centre and ensuring they were relevant to the working environment. Overall, he felt the traineeship was a positive experience both from the employer’s and the trainee’s perspective and would continue to engage with the programme going forward.

Geraldine McElvaney, the Eduwork Project Manager, then provided a brief overview of the project outlining the project objectives which including organising the networking event and the production of an Employer’s Information Pack which was distributed to all attendees. She introduced the Eduwork.net website and explained the purpose of the vetmobility.eu virtual networking space to encourage networking and making connections between VET providers and employers both at home and abroad. Geraldine also used this as an opportunity to promote the Project Support Office and how it could benefit VET providers and employers who were interested in VET Internationalisation through VET Mobility.

The morning session was interspersed with coffee breaks to allow for networking opportunities and a chance to discuss options going forward. The response from all attendees was very positive with several people making connections for future discussions.

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