Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB) held its annual Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) Carlow awards ceremony recently at the Seven Oaks Hotel where students were presented with QQI levels 3-6 awards in horticulture, healthcare, childcare, ICT and office administration.
BTEI provides free, part-time further education for young people and adults who left school with few or no formal qualifications and offers the opportunity to combine a return to learning with family, work and other responsibilities. Participants can obtain QQI Levels 3-6 certification, pursue new employment options and/or progress to higher education.
Celebration and pride in overcoming adversity were the big themes of the BTEI Carlow Awards ceremony – the first to be held since 2019.
Opening the awards ceremony, BTEI Carlow Co-ordinator Orlaith McHugh welcomed the awardees and their families and acknowledged their hard work, despite the disruptions caused by Covid-19. She praised the BTEI teachers and tutors who, she said, “go above and beyond the call of duty in helping their students”.
Eileen Curtis, the Chief Executive of KCETB, congratulated the awardees on what they have achieved. She commented, “Tonight is a time to recognise your effort and perseverance, your commitment and dedication. It is important to formally mark your efforts in returning to education. Significant demands were made on everyone over the last few years. Tonight is a night to compliment yourselves on a job well done”.
She added, “ Success in learning isn’t always about arriving at the destination. It’s about the journey and what you learn along the way and during your courses in BTEI Carlow you have learned a lot about what you are capable of achieving”.
KCETB Director of Further Education and Training (FET) Martha Bolger commented, “BTEI prepares people for work and fulfilling carers. It offers education pathways and opportunities for learners of all backgrounds and abilities. Learning is not always linear”.
KCETB Adult Education Officer John O’Neill told the awardees, “You have shown great bravery. Change brings with it fear. You decided that you want change and that doesn’t come about lightly. You have overcome your own fears and of that you should be very proud”.
Main image capion: Pictured at the BTEI Carlow Awards are Healthcare Awardees Renata Polak (Carlow); Renata Rusicka (Carlow) ; Tutor Gillian Deacon; Lisa Moore (Carlow); Betty McSweeney (Graiguecullen)and Marcella Costigan (Oak Park)
KCETB Director of FET Martha Bolger with awardee Pretty Sibanda (Bagenalstown) and her daughter Sinead Sibanda (11yrs)