Respond College held a graduation ceremony for its second Cork based group of FETAC Level 5 Healthcare Support Students on May 25th 2017 at the Knocknaheeney/Hollyhill Youth Centre, Cork City. 13 Students graduated with a Major award in Healthcare Support with another 12 attaining minor awards.
The Healthcare Support programme was delivered by Respond College and funded by the Department of Social Protection through the Community Employment Scheme. The students are now qualified carers with many now using their qualifications in paid employment.
Chief Operations Officer of Respond Housing Association Ned Brennan, in his conference address, said: “I congratulate the students and their families on this great achievement… Your education has developed your capacity to question, to argue, to think creatively and to imagine new things. Your education should foster a growing courage and confidence to speak out when you see something wrong or a better way of being and doing”.
Professor Cathal O’Connell of University College Cork also delivered a conference address, and commended the tutors and students on all their hard work. Addressing the graduates Professor O’Connell said: “I invite you to reflect on how you have changed as a result of this course. You are now members of the caring profession, and I ask you to similarly bring about change in the lives of the people who you will now care for”.
Gift were presented to Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, centre manager of Knocknaheeney/Hollyhill Youth service, and to Patricia Savani, one of the many Community Employment Supervisors who support the programme, in recognition of their ongoing support of the course. Programme Leader Dr Lorcan Byrne said: “This programme shows what can happen when the community pulls together. We are very grateful to all of the Community Employment Supervisors as they enabled the students, helping them to assess funding, supporting and encouraging the students over the entire year. We are also very grateful to our good friends and colleagues in Knocknaheeney/Hollyhill Youth Service who made a great contribution with facilities, friendship and support.”
The students are looking forward to their careers as qualified carers as holding the Healthcare Support Certificate is now a prerequisite for entry or advancement within the caring profession. Respond College’s teaching philosophy means that the students’ life experiences, both personal and professional, is highly valued and this becomes the centre point of the entire learning process. This allowed students and tutors to share knowledge, skills and experience in ways that were mutually beneficial.