Almost 150 adult learners and guests attended the annual South Tipperary VEC Adult Education Awards held at Hotel Minella recently.
The attendance included Cllr. John Fahey, Chairperson of South Tipperary VEC; Cllr. Liam Ahern, Chairperson of the Adult Education Board; VEC member Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose, Vice Chairperson of the Adult Education Board; Fionnuala McGeever, CEO and Eileen Condon, Adult Education Officer (AEO).
These awards are an important date in the VEC calendar because they provide an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the efforts made by adults who made the decision to return to education and pursue accreditation.
Due to the increasing numbers participating in VEC Adult Education programmes, those attending were representative of recipients of full awards. There are hundreds of other adults attending who are on the ladder to achieving a full award. The awards that were presented ranged from the Leaving Certificate, completed by Clonmel VTOS learners, to full FETAC awards at Levels 2, 3 and 5, and BULATS awards, which are a qualification in English Language proficiency, developed and accredited by University of Cambridge. To achieve a full FETAC award at Level 5 could take 2 years attending part-time.
Cllr Liam Ahern began with the quote “nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” He praised the learners for overcoming old fears that may have held them back from engaging in education, saying “due to your perseverance and determination to rise above circumstance, you are able to sit here tonight and be proud of your accomplishments.” He also thanked family members for supporting the adults on their learning journey.
Eileen Condon congratulated the hard work of all and praised the VEC tutors and staff who are highly qualified and work within best practice in adult education.
She remarked that the strength of VECs is their focus on employability, not just employment. The development of core skills in communications, team work, and problem-solving skills and IT skills are inherent in all programmes, and are the transferable qualities that all employers seek. She also mentioned the essential gains made in confidence and personal development that are at the core of what adult education is about. With a focus on accreditation, these are not easy to measure but they are no less important.