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Event to recognise volunteers’ dedication throughout pandemic

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A special event to thank volunteers for their dedication and work throughout the pandemic will be held virtually this Thursday.

Taking place at 7pm, Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Patrick Connor Scarteen, will host the event for the Community Response Forum who provided non-emergency supports, and advice and guidance to communities around the county.

The online event, which will be available on the Kerry County Council homepage, www.kerrycoco.ie, Council Facebook page and Kerry County Council YouTube Channel, aims to recognise the efforts of everybody involved in the Community Forum since it began in March 2020.

The Kerry Community Response Forum is a multi-agency group of statutory and voluntary organisations which has been coordinating the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. It includes representatives of Kerry County Council, the HSE, An Garda Síochána, local development companies, Kerry Volunteer Centre, Kerry GAA, Local Link Kerry, Kerry Public Participation Network, Kerry Age Friendly Network, Citizens Information, St Vincent de Paul, Alone, Irish Red Cross, Kerry Civil Defence and other local voluntary groups.

“The Kerry Community Response Forum was one of the first to be established in the country, in recognition of the need to support vulnerable individuals and households in the county,” Cllr Patrick Connor Scarteen said.

“It provided a single point of contact for vulnerable people and those in need of assistance, and through the Community Response Forum, they were put in touch with local community groups and organisations to help them out.

“We are now seeing restrictions ease and society reopen, and hopefully matters will continue to improve over the coming months. This is why we feel it is the right time to recognise the huge level of effort by the organisers, the groups and those staffing the phones.”

The virtual appreciation night will outline the work of the various groups, with the Municipal District Cathaoirligh and other guests highlighting what went on behind the scenes to ensure that every call was answered and that nobody was left behind.

“The work that our voluntary and community groups do around the county is amazing, and the Forum was a way to ensure that there was a formal structure behind it,” Director of Community Development with Kerry County Council, Michael Scannell, explained. “This ensured the governance and support for all groups was in place.

“For years we have been highlighting the work of the various groups around the county and when the pandemic came, it was clear that they would continue doing the positive work within their communities. Our role was to provide support and back-up and now we want to thank them for their efforts."

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Develop skills and improve employability

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.

Developed in partnership with industry representatives and employers, these programmes combine learning in the classroom with a minimum of 30 percent of learning on-the-job. The focus is on ‘learning on the go’ and developing perspectives that are in tune with the ever evolving world of work. They span across a range of industry sectors including business and retail, media, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and mariculture, care, construction, engineering, animal science, fashion and beauty, finance, ICT, hospitality, sports and leisure, and logistics.

At the core of the scheme is a strong collaboration with the ETBs in the provision of work-based learning opportunities on existing and new programmes. Traineeships lead to an award at Levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are between six to 24 months in duration. Over 75 programmes are available nationwide – although not all of them will be available nationally at all times – and the content, award and duration may vary. They are designed for flexible delivery to include online, face-to-face and blended learning.

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Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
_______________________________________________________________________

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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