MoS Kevin Humphreys congratulates Diageo/Skillnets Positive2Work on successful Programme in Dundalk

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Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys T.D. was in attendance today (Tuesday, 29 September 2015) at a Graduation Ceremony where 17 young unemployed people received Level 6 Accreditation in Hospitality from the Dundalk Institute of Technology. This programme is sponsored by Diageo and co-funded by Skillnets.

During National Jobs Week last year Angela Smith, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Diageo Ireland, approached the Department of Social Protection in the North East to arrange a Learning for Life – Hospitality programme in Dundalk for young unemployed people. This programme had already been successfully carried out in Dublin Inner City.

Diageo decided they would like replicate this programme in Dundalk, as they have been a major employer in the town for many years and this was seen as an opportunity for them to give something back to the community.

The purpose of the programme was to equip young people with hospitality industry skills, providing real employment opportunities and facilitating future job growth, using Diageo’s existing customer base in the Dundalk area.

As co-funders of the programme, Skillnets, under the leadership of Mark Brennan, provided assistance with programme development, participant profile and recruitment.

The Dundalk Institute of Technology was contracted to deliver a hospitality programme which they designed and validated as a bespoke level 6 Special Purpose Hospitality award. Under the Youth Guarantee Programme in collaboration with Diageo, DKIT, SkillsNet and Department of Social Protection, twenty unemployed 18-30 year olds were recruited and successfully finished a seven week Level 6 Hospitality course, followed by a four week work placement programme.

The programme was delivered on campus in DKIT during April/May 2015, with students having full access to all the college facilities and the hospitality faculty, thus giving these young people the complete college experience while taking part on the course.  Twelve students successfully secured employment immediately after completion of the programme and five returned to full time education.

Minister Humphreys acknowledged the collaboration of restaurateurs, hoteliers and publicans in the local Dundalk area, who engaged with the programme in providing work experience.  Following the initial period, many of the companies offered paid placement opportunities to students.  A number of students also availed of the opportunity to progress onto a QQI Level 7 Culinary Arts programme in DKIT.

Having recognised the skill gap in the hospitality sector, all stakeholders acknowledged the great contribution this programme has made to bolster the industry.

Acknowledging the outstanding success of this initiative in Dublin and subsequently in Dundalk, Minister Humphreys said: "This is the first Learning for Life Programme to receive accreditation and I would like to see a similar programme again in 2016.  I wish to congratulate the companies involved for their foresight and hugely significant contribution and DKIT for the progressive and innovative programme."The Minister wished them and the students well in their future endeavours and projects.


Last modified:29/09/2015