Athenry ADC teams up with Iarnrod Eireann 2005

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Athenry Community IT Centre has just completed a workplace learning initiative on behalf of Iarnrod Eireann following a successful ten-week Pilot Project run by the Company early in 2004 in conjunction with the Adult Learning Centre, Longford.

larnrod Eireann is one of only a handful of employers in Ireland who have assessed the feasibility of providing Workplace Learning Programmes for employees. As part of the programme, staff are afforded the opportunity to learn communications, mathematics or computer skills.

larnrod Eireann’s Personnel Manager in the West of Ireland, Emmett Cotter, explained that the Workplace Learning concept was new to larnrod Eireann and typically involved staff attending the programme two to three hours a week during working hours. The effort put into such an initiative by all involved is worth it when you see the benefits that both our staff and the Company gain from a Return to Learning Programme.

Two people who attended the Athenry course, Mr. John Mitchell and Mr. Gerry McMahon now have a knowledge of computers that will help them in their roles as Safety Representatives with larnrod Eireann.

It is difficult for an organisation as big as Iarnrod Eireann to formally commit to affording all staff the opportunity to apply for such an initiative as the logistics involved in releasing staff for such courses during the working day are often underestimated. The ‘Athenry Initiative’ involved co-ordinating three separate Infrastructure Maintenance Divisions; Ennis, Claremorris and Athenry and it would not have been successful without the full support of the Company’s Permanent Way Inspectors who had to juggle rosters to ensure that staff were released. Iarnrod Eireann would like to think that a Workplace Learning Initiative might light the spark that would encourage  an individual to seek further education outside of the workplace environment and there are currently schemes in Iarnrod Eireann to assist staff who want to obtain further relevant qualifications. The six members of it’s staff who attended the Athenry Community IT Centre every Thursday morning in May and June opted for the Computer Skills Course.

Much credit and thanks are due to Louise Houlihan, Course Tutor and Iarnrod Eireann would like to especially thank Bernadette O’Shea for her untiring commitment in getting the Athenry Initiative up and running.

Such was the success of the Athenry Initiative that larnrod Eireann, in conjunction with Athenry A.D.C., has decided to run a further Return to Learning Initiative in the autumn.

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About this record

Written by Louise Houlihan

Published here 02 Jan 2024 and originally published Summer 2005

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