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Exciting Partnership with Southeast Technological University (SETU) for FET staff

The last couple of years saw Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board work closely with SETU, providing our tutors in FET with the opportunity to complete a Level 6 Certificate in Adult Literacy.  

This pilot is the first of its kind ran by SETU and we were delighted to work with them on designing the format of this course. It is a hybrid model of a course they deliver on their campus. The course consists of three modules being delivered remotely via teams with a one-day in person workshop, per module, in FET Centre, Clonown Road, Athlone. Joan Slevin Literacy Co-ordinator who put in many hours attending meetings with SETU and sorting out the logistics on the ground, she did this with great enthusiasm on top of an already busy workload! 

The modules are:  

  • Equality Diversity and Inclusion   
  • Integrating Literacy  
  • Literacy and Society  

13 staff completed the course of the graduates are continuing with their studies and gaining further qualifications both with SETU and other Higher Education institutions. We marked the event by hosting a conferring ceremony on Tuesday 12th March.

SETU staff including Helen Murphy SETU Head of School and Lifelong Learning and Education presented learners with their certificates on the day. We had a lovely day celebrating with our colleagues. Our graduates were joined by their family and friends which made this a special celebration for everyone involved. 

LWETB Learner Handbook

Welcome to Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) where you will continue your journey in life long learning. To help you get the most out of your time with us, we developed this Learner Handbook which we hope will assist you. 

The handbook is an aid for you and provides answers to questions which you may have while attending. The handbook covers such things such as who is LWETB? What it is LWETB do, where we deliver programmes and where you can access these programmes. 

It also provides information on options around qualifications and the learner journey, what supports are available to learners, the assessment process and an overview of our LWETB quality process. 

While the handbook is not an exhaustive guide and you may have other questions we are happy to answer questions and provide guidance at all times.

 Connolly Campus Open Day

Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) would like to thank everyone that joined them Wednesday 22nd November for the open day in the Connolly Campus, Longford. The open day was to celebrate College Awareness Week.

LWETB is one of the 16 ETB’s in Ireland responsible for education and training through schools, youth work and further education. LWETB has many campuses across Longford and Westmeath. The Connolly Campus is located on Church Street and Battery Road in Longford Town. The campus provides opportunities for school leavers and adult learners to enhance their opportunity for employment, progress to further studies or develop new skills, and want to become more involved in their communities.

With an array of courses available in Youthreach, Back To Education Initiative (BTEI), Adult Learning, Community Education and Post Leaving Certificates (PLCs) the campus caters for everyone’s needs. Returning to learning as an adult can be challenging, our Further Education and Training Guidance and Information Service is on hand to offer information, advice and guidance on training, education and careers.

The open day was a fantastic opportunity for LWETB staff from different provisions to come together and showcase the educational options available in Longford. It also presented the state of the art facilities available to all learners, these include a fully equipped clinical room for healthcare and nursing learners, a new barista hub, computer suites, beauty treatment rooms and classrooms, School of Engineering Technology, a fully equipped kitchen for catering courses as part of the Youthreach Programme and so much more.

There was a hive of activity from the start, the open day included Apprenticeship talks, workshops and demonstrations in Computers, Smartphones, Wreath Making, Christmas Crafts, Barista, Barbering, Manicure/Pedicure, Reflexology and Nursing. Campus tours took place during the event and there was an opportunity for prospective learners to engage with current learners and tutors.

Overall the day was a great success, we look forward to doing it all again soon. If you missed out on attending the open day, details of courses on offer can be found on www.fetchcourses.ie or by emailing fet@lwetb.ie.

National Centre for Electric Vehicle Skills in Mullingar

Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) hosted a landmark event in the Bloomfield House Hotel on Monday 13th November. LWETB were honoured to welcome Minister Simon Harris who revealed plans for a national centre for electric vehicle skills in Mullingar.

The exciting event marks a significant milestone in Irelands transition to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. The national centre will be a hub for innovation, research, and education in the realm of electrical modes of transport, driving forward the adoption of sustainable transport and technological advances in the region.

The centre will be a critical component of the State’s response to the green transition and will ensure that Irish workers are fully equipped to handle expanding skills requirements of electric vehicles.

When fully developed, the centre will train people to repair and maintain not only electric cars, but also electric bikes, scooters, trucks, buses, vans and heavy goods vehicles. The centre will allow the FET sector to remain a leader in the delivery of motor mechanic skills.

The first step is the establishment of a Project Management Office and the recruitment of staff to commence work on the project.

 Minister Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, was joined by Ms. Liz Lavery Chief Executive of LWETB, members of the LWETB Senior Leadership Team, members of the LWETB Board, key stakeholders, educators, industry experts, and local leaders to share insights and unveil the government’s strategic vision for this national centre. Speaking today, Minister Harris said “As the number of EVs on the road increases, a workforce with the knowledge to fix and properly maintain them will be needed.” 

“It is clear to us we need a dedicated national centre to focus on the delivery of these key skills, while preparing for future technological advances.” 

“This national centre will be based in the Midlands, in one of our growing towns and will be absolutely critical to delivery of the skills of the future.” 

The announcement of the national centre for electric vehicle skills is a considerable moment for LWETB and for the future of sustainable transport in Ireland.  Ms. Liz Lavery, LWETB Chief Executive, said that “LWETB is delighted and proud to be expanding into this new area and we are proud to play a pivotal role in this endeavour by hosting the national EV centre”. Ms. Lavery recognises the importance of fostering sustainable practices and technological innovation within the Longford and Westmeath community. Ms. Lavery went on to say that “LWETB has a long history in education and training in Longford and Westmeath, providing primary and post-primary education, FET programmes, apprenticeship provision, Music Generation and Youth Services. Ms. Lavery concluded that ‘LWETB is committed to developing a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that can drive Ireland’s transition to a more eco-friendly future”

Andrew Brownlee, SOLAS Chief Executive said “SOLAS welcomes the development of the national centre for electric vehicle skills in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath as a significant milestone in further expanding the national training provision. The skills provided by the national centre by Longford-Westmeath Education and Training Board will be essential in supporting the green transition and in realising climate action targets.” 

 “Our pledge at SOLAS is to provide every FET learner with the green skills and sustainability awareness to allow them to serve as agents of change on climate action.” 

“A warm congratulations to my colleagues in Longford-Westmeath Education and Training Board, and to all of the potential learners in Mullingar and the surrounding areas.” 

This announcement is a significant development for the midland’s region and in particular Mullingar by propelling it into the forefront of sustainable innovation and clean energy.  

For all media queries please email corporate@lwetb.ie

Further Education and Training (FET) Awards Ceremony in Mullingar

There was a lovely atmosphere as families and tutors gathered to celebrate the achievements of the learners, at what was the first LWETB in-person graduation since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The director of Further Education and Training, Antonine Healy, presented the certificates to the learners, and with her colleagues at the training board, she congratulated the learners on their achievements and wished them luck in their futures.

Tenth Anniversary Celebrations #ETBDAY

Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) is one of the 16 ETB’s in Ireland responsible for education and training through schools, youth work and further education. 

To mark the 10th anniversary of LWETB, Connolly Campus held an open day. Connolly Campus is located on Church Street and Battery Road in Longford Town.  

The campus provides opportunities for school leavers and adult learners to enhance their opportunity for employment, progress to further studies or develop new skills, and want to become more involved in their communities.

With an array of courses available in Youthreach, Back To Education Initiative (BTEI), Adult Learning, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Community Education and Post Leaving Certificates (PLCs) the campus caters for everyone’s needs.

Returning to learning as an adult can be challenging, our LWETB FET Guidance and Information Service is on hand to offer information, advice and guidance on training, education and careers.

The open day was a fantastic opportunity for LWETB staff from different provisions to come together and showcase the educational options available in Longford.

It also presented the state of the art facilities available to all learners, these include a fully equipped clinical room for healthcare and nursing learners, a new barista hub, computer suites, beauty treatment rooms and classrooms, School of Engineering Technology, a fully equipped kitchen for catering courses as part of the Youthreach Programme and so much more.

There was a hive of activity from the start, excitement was building when decorations were being put up and preparation was underway for the arrival of the Shannonside FM Outdoor Broadcast.

Throughout the day we were given the opportunity for Staff and Learners to be interviewed live.

It was wonderful to hear from the staff about the services they offer, however, the learners stole the show! To hear their learning journeys and incredible achievements is what LWETB is all about.

The learners are the heart of our services and we celebrate everyone’s successes.

Entertainment on the day was provided by Valerie Nolan, current Business Level 5 Learner and Bridie Gobl in the Longford of College of Further Education (LCFE). They were inspirational.

Overall the day was a great success, we look forward to doing it all again soon.

School of Horticulture Plant Fair

The School of Horticulture is operated by Westmeath Community Development and funded by Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB). Westmeath County Council and Belvedere House & Gardens provide the beautiful surroundings of the 19th century Victorian walled Garden as the learning environment.

The annual School of Horticulture Plant Fair is taking place Saturday 22nd July in Belvedere House & Gardens between 11am and 5pm. Come along on the day to see rare and unusual plants from Irish Specialist Growers. There will be bespoke garden furniture and antiques along with music and BBQ. 

We’re honoured to have Celebrity Garderners Jimi Blake and Paul Smyth join us on the day. They will be giving garden talks and sharing their tips with us! 

QQI Inaugural Review Feedback

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) is responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland. One of QQI’s most important statutory functions is to ensure that the quality assurance procedures that providers have in place have been implemented and are effective. To this end, QQI conducts external reviews of providers of further and higher education and training on a cyclical basis. 

QQI conducted the inaugural review of quality assurance in education and training boards and visited LWETB during 2022. Cyclical review is an element of the broader quality framework for ETBs composed of statutory quality assurance guidelines; quality assurance approval; annual quality reporting; dialogue meetings; the National Framework of Qualifications; validation of programmes; and, most crucially, the quality assurance system established by each ETB. The inaugural review of quality assurance in education and training boards runs from 2020-2023.

Each inaugural review is carried out by a team of independent experts and peers. The 2022 inaugural review of Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) was conducted by a team of 6 reviewers selected by QQI. The review team attended a briefing and training session in QQI on 18 February 2022 and the planning visit to Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) took place on 24 February 2022. The main review visit was conducted by the full team between 25 April and 29 April 2022.

On conclusion of the process, the panel of independent experts were extremely complimentary of LWETB FET services and the many structures in place to ensure quality outcomes for learners. The team stated that FET services in LWETB evidenced ‘clear focus on the learner as central to its services and in line with its values’. The review team also recognised ‘the considerable effort of LWETB during the pandemic and commends LWETB on its learner centred approach, which is clearly at the heart of its activity’.

LWETB Awards Ceremony in Mullingar

More than 70 learners who have attended classes with Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB) at their two centres in Mullingar (Marlinstown Business Park and O’Growney Drive) received their certificates at a graduation ceremony in the Annebrook House Hotel on Thursday week last.

There was a lovely atmosphere as families and tutors gathered to celebrate the achievements of the learners, at what was the first LWETB in-person graduation since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The director of Further Education and Training, Antonine Healy, presented the certificates to the learners, and with her colleagues at the training board, she congratulated the learners on their achievements and wished them luck in their futures.

Major Investment Announced Athlone Further Education

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD, has announced a multi-million euro investment in the creation of state of the art further education facilities on the campus of the existing Athlone Training Centre in Garrycastle. The significant capital investment was announced by Minister Harris on a visit to Athlone, and this key project forms part of a first phase of projects to be advanced under the national Further Education and Training Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund (SIUF).

Funding for the project is to be provided through SOLAS to the Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB), and the appointment of a design team follow this announcement. Announcing the investment at a special event in the Athlone Training Centre in Garrycastle, Minister Harris said: “Today marks another important day as we announce another key investment in regional further education and training provision”.

“We are announcing a significant investment for further education and training in Athlone, which will see the creation a new Further Education and Training (FET) centre next to the existing Athlone Training Centre. This will enable the consolidation of existing services to one central location and provide a more campus education feel for our learners. It will provide for a more enhanced provision of services and additional capacity to meet head on the rising demand.” 

The Minister acknowledged the role of LWETB in advancing the planned project and said it

demonstrates their “on-going commitment to the FET provision in the Athlone and surrounding regions.”

The investment will ensure that learners and staff will have a “fit for purpose facility and will provide a pipeline for students to continue their training/studies” said the Minister. “Learners are at the centre of all further education and training. Investment in Further education and training benefits our learners, giving them a better chance to get a job, opportunities to progress to other education and training opportunities, and to gain the transversal skills that will enable them to fulfil their ambitions, and contribute fully to the economy and society.”

CEO of SOLAS, Andrew Brownlee, said: “Further Education & Training has a unique and special value both for learners and for our communities – and learners and communities in Athlone deserve cutting edge facilities and equipment. This announcement of capital funding is a welcome step that will mean that FET facilities there reflect the modern, dynamic nature of FET provision in 2022.

The ambitious scale of vision set out in the national FET strategy, Future FET: Transforming Learning, is being met by suitably ambitious investment. This funding will enable nationally coordinated and strategic action that will form the foundation of FET Colleges of the Future; greatly expand capacity; build up our national skills portfolio; strengthen pathways through and from FET; and most importantly, best serve the FET learners of today and tomorrow.

This investment in capital is an investment in the future of FET – and most importantly, an investment in the future of the many learners in the Midlands region that it will directly benefit.” Liz Lavery, Chief Executive Officer of LWETB said: “LWETB is delighted with the news of this significant capital investment facilitating the provision of additional teaching, learning and skills development spaces on our centre here in Athlone. “This investment will allow us to build on the excellent

services we currently provide and ensure that all our learners have opportunity to reach their potential, progress to further or higher education or employment.”