Tipperary received a major boost on Monday 9th April when Tipperary Education and Training Board (TETB) opened a Further Education and Training (FET) Centre in Archerstown, Thurles.
Fionuala McGeever, Chief Executive of Tipperary ETB and Cllr John Hogan, Chair of Tipperary ETB are delighted to be associated with this major development. They are very appreciative of the TETB Management and staff who have made significant effort in the renovation of the site at Archerstown over the last 9 months. This effort has produced for the first time in Tipperary a facility to train Apprentices from all over Ireland. In 2017, TETB received approval for the development of the site for the provision of training facilities for Apprenticeships Trades at Phase 2. In its first year, the centre will provide training for 170 apprentices in the following trades: electrical, electronic security systems and construction plant fitting. The centre will also offer training programmes for the unemployed and those in employment who wish to upskill by offering day and evening training provision.
There has been a resurgence in the demand for apprentices with the growth in the economy. The Action Plan for Jobs 2018 identified skills needs for enterprise as an important factor to support a growing economy and set a target to support up to 6,200 apprenticeship registrations and 3,900 traineeship enrolments in 2018. The FET centre in Thurles will assist in achieving these targets. The site in Thurles is currently being developed over three phases. Phase one of the building works was completed in March which included the provision of offices, meeting room, workshops, classrooms, test centre and canteen and catering facilities.
The site was originally established by BSN Medical in 1979 to produce orthopaedic support products and custom-made burn garments for healthcare group Smith & Nephew. The facility closed in 2006 with the loss of 80 jobs. Since 2006 the property has been partly occupied by various companies with AQS being the most recent occupier prior to TETB taking over the whole facility. The site has now been developed by the landlord James Coleman (Suirway Group) to the requirements and specifications of the TETB. The project was managed by Bryan McCarthy Associates. Seamus Butler of Marlhill Construction was the contractor on site who upgraded the centre to the required standard. The building works created employment for more than 50 skilled tradesmen in a variety of trades over the last nine months. Providers of accommodation in Thurles also received a boost as the apprentices are staying in the local area. Catering in the centre is being provided by David Morgan (D-Vine Catering) and his staff.
The first apprentice to arrive on site was Ian Cremin who lives in Kerry. Ian is an electrical apprentice from Brendan Cremin Electrical Services. Ian will spend 22 weeks in Thurles acquiring and enhancing the skills necessary to qualify as an electrician. He will return to his employer to continue his 4-year apprenticeship after completing Phase 2 here in Thurles.
Director of Further Education and Training, Eileen Condon, joined the staff on the day to welcome the apprentices to the Thurles Centre and to thank Matthew Ryan Training Services Manager and his staff for the successful opening of the premises. The staff of the Training Services Department moved from their offices at Western Road Clonmel to Thurles in March to provide support services to the centre and the management of the training functions across Tipperary.
There will be in the region of 30 staff based in the Archerstown centre. In addition to training apprentices on site in the facilities in Thurles, the staff has a remit that covers training across Tipperary. The staff work with all employers across Tipperary who employ apprentices, recruit and place the unemployed in training programmes to upskill and progress to further education, operate evening training programmes for those in employment who wish to upskill, ensure that courses meet the correct quality assurance standards and process trainee payments, where applicable. In addition, the staff also support training across the county in several areas as follows:
Community Training Centres in Clonmel, Nenagh and Thurles which are an independent community based organisation, catering for the training and employment needs of early school leavers, primarily aged between 16 and 21. Examples of programmes offered include employability skills, personal and social employment skills and science skills. Courses are generally one year in duration, are full-time and lead to major QQI Awards at levels 3 and 4.
Local Training Initiatives which are project-based training and work experience programme carried out in the local community and run by local community groups throughout Tipperary. It is designed for people who are unemployed, and who are having trouble in gaining entry to the labour market. Courses are QQI accredited, full-time and delivered all year round. Local Training Initiatives are 30-week courses in with a specific focus delivered in seven locations across Tipperary
Special Training Programmes in Tipperary are delivered to people with disabilities who may require more intensive support. The features of this specialist vocational training include: longer duration; adapted equipment; transport arrangements; enhanced programme content. Examples include ICT and vocational multi-skills. Our courses are delivered all year round and lead to QQI accreditation. There are two specialist Training Providers in Clonmel: National Learning Network and Cluain Training.
Contracted Training and Evening Training are courses designed to provide learners with a range of employability related skills and formal Vocational qualifications to facilitate those entering the labour market for the first time and persons wishing to up-date or acquire new skills. At the moment, there are courses taking place or planned for Clonmel, Nenagh, Carrick-on-Suir, Cahir, Thurles, Roscrea, Templemore and Tipperary Town. These courses are in the following skills: PC Maintenance Comptia A+,Certified Accountancy Pathway, Delivery Driver, HGV Rigid, HGV Artic, Logistics and Distribution, Forklift Operator, Retail Sales, Warehouse Operative, Bus-driving, Mini-bus driving, Cleanroom and Packaging Operations, Construction Ground Work Skills, Technical Employability Skills, Medical Administration and Tourism
Guidance & Information Services The Information service is open to learners on ETB Adult Education programmes and the general public. Guidance is aimed at learners on ETB Adult Education programmes as well as particular target groups within the community.