Celebrating Longford’s Learning Communities

Adult Learners Festival Respond

Community Education learners with their QQI certificates in Occupational First Aid. Pictured with Jillian Gillick, Respond and Garrett Buckley Longford Westmeath ETB.

Community Education learners gathered in the Respond Community Centre, Townparks, Longford on Wednesday 24th February to receive their QQI Level 5 certificates in Occupational First Aid.  One group of learners, comprising Townpark’s residents and women from Longford’s Polish Women’s Group, attended weekly classes in the centre and learned how to assess and deal with minor and major injuries, how to carry out CPR and also how to operate a Defibrillator.

A second group to receive their Occupational First Aid certificates were participants in Longford Sports’ Partnership’s ‘Community Coaching Programme’ which was delivered in October 2015.  This programme was delivered in conjunction with Westmeath County Council, the HSE, Department of Social Protection, Longford Community Resources and local sports clubs in the town.   These participants will be able to use their life-saving skills in their local sports clubs and communities.

The First Aid Courses were part of the Autumn programme of activities for community groups in Longford and was facilitated by Longford Westmeath ETB’s Community Education Service.

The ‘Longford’s Learning Communities’ event was organised by Jillian Gillick, Family Support Worker with Respond in Longford and LWETB’s Community Education Facilitator, Nuala O’Brien as part of the 10th National Adult Learner’s Festival which ran from 22nd to 26th February.  A number of Townpark’s residents dropped in to the community centre and availed of the opportunity to learn about the options for community education courses in the centre.

Speaking at the presentation of certificates Garrett Buckley, Education Officer with LWETB, congratulated the learners on achieving their certificates and emphasised that QQI accreditation is widely recognised by all education bodies and by employers.  He NOTE: said they could be proud of their achievements and encouraged them to avail of further opportunities, particularly as there was such a high-quality community centre available to them in Townparks.

Jillian Gillick, from Respond, was full of praise for the learners.  ‘They will be a great asset to their families and community.  They have been given the skills and confidence to deal with small and major accidents’.  Jillian went on to say that Respond is hoping to run more  community education classes in conjunction with the ETB and she hopes that the residents from Townparks will call back in to her with ideas for classes.

The Adult Learner’s Festival is promoted by AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation and the ‘Learning Communities’ theme was one that was promoted nationally this year.  The event was one of almost 200 events being held in community centres, libraries and further education centres nationwide.   The festival celebrates and promotes the positive benefits of participating in further education.  Almost 1,300 adults participated in community education classes in Longford and Westmeath in 2015.

If you would like more information on community education options in your area you can contact Nuala on 086 170 0936.

AONTAS is the National Adult Learning Organisation.  AONTAS co-ordinates the Adult Learners’ Festival each year.  For more information visit www.aontas.com and www.adultlearnersfestival.com.

Posted March 2016 – Jillian Gillick, Respond Family Support Worker