This Thursday, my colleague in the Department of Education, Minister Jan O’Sullivan T.D. visited St. Fintina’s Post Primary School in Longwood. We toured the building which first opened in 1953, and sampled aspects of the formal and non formal life of the school, meeting students, Student Council, parents, staff and BOM members, all of whom are looking forward to the new purpose built building opening later this year which we also toured under construction. Former Labour Cllr. Tracey McElhinney and local Fine Gael Cllr. Joe Fox also attended. You can see some pictures on my Facebook page below:
Bus Éireann’s Red Setter and local schoolchildren were in playful mode this morning for the launch of the new ‘Buster and the Belt-Ups’ school transport safety campaign.
Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan, and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English were also in Merrion Square to officially launch the important new safety initiative.
While all Bus Éireann school buses are fitted with seatbelts, it is vital we continue to reinforce the importance of ‘belting up’ to school pupils. There are over 44 million journeys made by 112,500 school pupils under the School Transport Scheme annually, so safety remains the absolute priority for the company.
‘Buster and the Belt-Ups’ are animated characters who represent this new educational campaign, which involves a safety video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjyVeHm7IvY that will be distributed to national schools as part of packs including posters, seat belt safety certificates, activity sheets and stickers. These will be distributed in Irish to Gael Scoileanna.
The new campaign – which aims to engage primary school students to continually wear their seatbelts, by relating to the various Belt-Up characters and their key message – is endorsed by the Road Safety Authority and the INTO (Irish National Teachers Organisation).
Minister English said: “This campaign is not just about school children. It is vital that parents, guardians and teachers get on board to highlight the importance of road safety. They play a major role in conveying the message that it’s ‘the norm’ to reach for your seat belt once you get on the bus.”
Minister O’Sullivan said: “I am delighted to be involved in launching the campaign. The safety of our school children is obviously extremely important and I believe this initiative is a great way to get the message of ‘belting-up’ across to students. Education is the most important means of achieving compliance with the requirement to wear a seat belt and the use of ‘Buster and the Belt-Ups’ makes it very easy for younger students to relate to.”
Today I was delighted to join my Departmental colleague Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Pat O’Doherty of the ESB and Chair of the Apprenticeship Council in announcing 25 new apprenticeship offerings.
These new offerings will see an expansion of the existing range of programmes offered under the Apprenticeship system, and are part of ongoing work to ensure that the system remains responsive to economic and employment needs.
The new offerings which are now in the development phase are the result of an evaluation process undertaken by the Apprenticeship Council.
The 25 new Apprenticeships will focus on a wide range of skills and sectors, including Manufacturing and Engineering, Tourism and Sport, Financial Services, Information Technology, Transport Distribution and Logistics, and Business Administration and Management.
The new types of apprenticeships being proposed today are very flexible, ranging in duration from two to four years, and will be offered at Levels 5 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
My job in Government is to bring education and industry together to make sure we have the skills needed for industry to compete, and for our people to get decent jobs with good wages. Since becoming a Minister a year ago, I have made building a more effective Apprenticeship offering a key part of delivering both of these objectives.
Apprenticeships are not the educational equivalent of the Junior B Football Team for people not deemed bright enough for a college degree. They are a pathway to a fulfilling and profitable career. Apprenticeships are a tried and tested method of developing deep skills through a powerful mixture of working with and learning from experts on the job, and through structured coursework.
Apprenticeships are about learning by doing. Quite simply, they work.
The launch venue of Dublin restaurant Fallon & Byrne was a fitting one given the surge in demand for more skilled people to work in the restaurant and hospitality sectors which has been highlighted to me regularly by Stephen McNally, and Enfield native and President of the Irish Hotels Federation, as well as many local hotel and restaurant owners.
Among the 25 new apprenticeships I want to highlight the work of Ashbourne butcher of the Association of Craft Butchers in Ireland for advancing the new Butchery and Fresh Food Retail apprenticeship.
There are also significant job opportunities in the HGV driver sector, and the I.T. sector, which is again reflected amongst the 25 new apprenticeships that will be offered.