Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) is the largest education and training provider in Donegal. With a presence in almost every community in the county, they play a pivotal role in developing, nurturing and advancing talent across a plethora of areas. Vinny McGroary, Area Training Manager for the ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service, talks more about the work of the organisation.
‘’As a location, Donegal has a huge amount to offer for both businesses and people looking to upskill. Having close working relationships with businesses, Donegal County Council and numerous networks such as Chambers of Commerce, Donegal Business Network and Donegal Women in Business, we are guided by the collective intelligence of these networks’’ explains Vinny.
‘’Our Further Education and Training (FET) Service engages with businesses so that they are adaptive and responsive to business and industry needs’’. This is evident across a range of key business sectors in Donegal including FinTech, manufacturing and engineering. ‘’For example we are currently providing upskilling and recertification for the welding and engineering sectors on location at several employer workplaces’’.
Something which Vinny is also keen to highlight is that much of the Nationally Certified training provided by Donegal ETB for businesses is either fully funded or heavily subsidised, giving another strong reason for businesses to engage and enhance a range of employee skills.
Donegal ETB has a deep connection with the county stretching back over 100 years with the establishment of County Donegal Joint Technical Instruction Committee in 1905. This subsequently evolved into Co. Donegal VEC and in 2013 became Donegal ETB broadening the remit of the organisation to include the training functions of the now dissolved FÁS. As Vinny proudly states ‘’Donegal is very much in our DNA.’’ As a native of the county, previously involved with FÁS and with the organisation since inception, Vinny is in turn a key part of Donegal ETB’s offering.
When asked how have the last 18 months been, Vinny smiles and replies ‘’busy and challenging for our staff and 20,000 students [across the whole organisation], but rewarding.’’ During the early months of the pandemic their FET Service moved fully online, and, in many instances, this worked well and some of the training provided essential guidance for businesses. ‘’We provided training in social media for organisations who were only able to operate online and infection prevention and control for the childcare sector which enabled both sectors to continue their operations during the pandemic.
While practical learning will need to take place in training centres for apprenticeships and courses in the beauty or horticulture sectors, for example, the pandemic has also given Donegal ETB the opportunity to re-evaluate how they deliver other FET programmes. ‘’Some courses will be delivered online only and we will build online training into other modules, which gives added flexibility to both students and employers to enable greater participation.’’
Currently among other projects, Vinny is contributing to the development of Donegal ETB’s next five-year organisational strategy, however (spoiler alert!) their mission will continue to focus on promoting, providing and supporting accessible and inclusive education and training to young people and adults which is at the heart of what they do. As Vinny explains ‘’it’s never too late to further develop and enhance or change your career path.’’
The organisation will also continue to work closely with both indigenous business and MNC (Multinational Companies), utilising the latest technology and insights to enable Donegal companies to have a competitive edge both nationally and globally, when developing new and enhanced Further Education and Training Programmes.
If you are considering a Further Education and Training course or have particular reskilling or upskilling training needs for your employees visit donegaletb.ie or follow them across social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube) where new courses are regularly offered throughout the year. #GoFurtherWithDonegalETB #DonegalitsinourDNA