For the 5th successive year, Donegal Local Development Company has hosted another successful Education and Showcase in the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar on Friday October 12th. This event which was attended by in excess of 250 people created an exciting opportunity for adults to meet exhibitors face to face to explore their opportunities to engage in education, training or lifelong learning. Exhibitors included Donegal ETB, Donegal Library, Road Safety Authority, the Defence Forces, Lifestart Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection, Sports Fitness Academy and Iggy Larking Training.
Welcoming everyone to the event, Padraic Fingleton, CEO DLDC said he was delighted to see people turn out in huge numbers year after year for this event. He acknowledged the presence of exhibitors noting that DLDC has a strong tradition of delivering education, training and lifelong learning opportunities across DLDC catchment area and this was made possible with the excellent working relationship that we have with other providers.
He also acknowledged the huge number of DLDC programmes that were also in attendance on the day (e.g. Refugee Resettlement Programme, Jobs Club, Co-Sync Community Health Programme, TUS/RSS, Donegal Volunteer Centre, Community Development and Employment/Enterprise & Lifelong Learning. He noted the ongoing success of these programmes in delivering supports on the ground to individuals across our catchment area.
Patsy Mc Gonagle, Board Director, DLDC also expressed his delight at seeing such a good turnout for the event. He noted the tremendous track record that DLDC has in delivering supports to communities throughout the county. He spoke of the importance of resilience in overcoming barriers that people may face. He noted the important role that education has played in his own life and he encouraged the audience to make the most of the opportunities that are available to them either via DLDC supports or via any of the other agencies that are present today.
MC Gerry Grant introduced the first of the guest speakers, Derek Walker. Mr Walker gave a very moving account of the obstacles that he has faced in his life and how he overcame them. He noted that without the support of DLDC he would not be where he is now and he encouraged the attendees to reach out to DLDC and make the most of the supports that are available from them.
Susan Kierce Marsh, SICAP Co-ordinator for Lifelong Learning highlighted the huge variety in supports to individuals to support them on their Lifelong Learning journey with workshops available in Yoga, Meditation, Positive mental health, Parenting supports, Internet safety, Digital skills as well as the power of positive thinking, Customer service, Occupational First Aid and Food Hygiene to name but a few. Susan urged attendees at the event to take that first step in their Lifelong Learning journey and that they would be supported by DLDC every step of the way.
Colette Callaghan, Enterprise Supports DLDC gave an overview of supports available for unemployed people exploring self-employment as well as supports available under the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
Fadl Mustapha gave a comprehensive overview of the Donegal Resettlement Refugee Programme and emphasised the important role that volunteers in the community play in supporting this work.
Mary Higgins from DLDC employment supports described the supports available to individuals including CV preparation, interview skills, application forms and sign posting to other organisations. She noted that these supports are available on an outreach basis throughout DLDC catchment area.
Lorraine Mc Gowan Community Health Leader CAWT CoH-Sync Project outlined how this innovative community health programme is being delivered in Donegal. She noted how the project supports individuals to improve their health & well-being as well as how people can participate in the project.
Tara McGuire, Donegal ETB described the range of options available to learners with Donegal ETB.
In closing the event, Gerry Grant DLDC thanked everyone for participating and noted that there had been a tremendous buzz all morning as participants engaged with exhibitors and networked with one another. He thanked the staff and volunteers in the Finn Valley Centre for their continued support in delivering another successful event and formally concluded proceedings.