Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Island Communities

Photo of Claire KerraneClaire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
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139. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the current funding allocations and financial supports that are available for professional development and training for island communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23479/21]

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail)
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Funding for Further Education and Training (FET) allocated by SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, is channelled through the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and other FET providers. Provision for FET programmes and supports to island communities would form part of annual funding provided to the ETBs with island communities within their functional area.

The FET programmes and supports, including through the medium of Irish, provided by these ETB on islands are heavily subsidised or free of charge, with training allowances available to learners on specific programmes.

I would advise any potential learners living in island communities to get in touch with the Adult Guidance Service in their local ETB to arrange an appointment to explore programmes and supports that may be available to them. This service is available to anyone over the age of 18 and is free of charge, and contact details are available on the Right Course website via the following link .

There is a variety of FET provision available to island communities, exemplified by initiatives set out below:

- Galway Roscommon ETB have rolled out a number of boat repair and maintenance, navigation, net mending and seaweed harvesting courses in the Connemara Gaeltacht and the Aran Islands.

- Galway Roscommon ETB are providing First Aid Responder and HACCP Training through the medium of Irish in Connemara and on the offshore Irish speaking Islands, and are providing these courses online in 2021.

- Comharchumann Chléire and Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí were supported by Cork ETB staff to successfully access Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF) which facilitated the purchase of devices and technology to enable recommencement/ continuation of education and training activities in the Gaeltacht and West Cork islands.

- Cork ETB are collaborating with Comhar Na nOileán (based on the Gaeltacht Island of Cape Clear) on a learning initiative to take place on some of the West Cork Islands (Cape, Heir, Sherkin, Long and Whiddy)


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