De­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lence in ed­u­ca­tion

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - Áilín Quin­lan KIN­SALE COL­LEGE OF FUR­THER ED­U­CA­TION ■ For more in­for­ma­tion visit: http:// cork.etb.ie/school/kin­sale-col­lege-of­fur­ther-ed­u­ca­tion/

It’s an aim of ev­ery school and col­lege to pre­pare stu­dents for the world of work ut not ev­ery in­sti­tu­tion takes it to the same ex­tent as Kin­sale Col­lege of Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion!

The col­lege’s prac­ti­cal em­pha­sis is leg­endary and an as­set to ev­ery grad­u­ate but health-care stu­dents re­cently took it all one step fur­ther.

The stu­dents study­ing the QQ1 Level Six Health­care Su­per­vi­sor Man­age­ment Skills course re­cently or­gan­ised a fash­ion show in aid of Downs Syn­drome Cork.

Noth­ing un­usual about that, al­though the fact they man­aged to raise €4,000 for char­ity was cer­tainly some­thing to be cel­e­brated. How­ever, it was the rai­son d’etre for the show along with the su­perb prepa­ra­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tion that went into the event that was the most im­pres­sive el­e­ment of the event, as He­lena Far­rell, Co­or­di­na­tor of the Health­care pro­grammes re­calls.

A sig­nif­i­cant ob­jec­tive of the course, ex­plains He­lena, is the pro­mo­tion of aware­ness of dis­abil­ity amongst stu­dents, and to this end, a young woman with Down Syn­drome, Ni­cola Healy from Ban­don, worked closely with the group: “Ni­cola came once a week to the col­lege and we met with her for two hours each time. It was Ni­cola’s dream to or­gan­ise a fash­ion show and the stu­dents took this on board as a project.

“They worked with Ni­cola to or­gan­ise the show. We felt it was a unique op­por­tu­nity to make Ni­cola’s dream come through us­ing our Per­son- Cen­tred Plan­ning Mod­ule, which is part of the QQ1 Level Six pro­gramme.

“This is a phi­los­o­phy that we try to help peo­ple with dis­abil­ity make their dreams and as­pi­ra­tions come true.”

The saga be­gan back in Novem­ber 2016 Ni­cola came to the col­lege for the first time on the in­vi­ta­tion of He­lena and col­lege prin­ci­pal Liz Moyni­han.

From then un­til the end of March Ni­cola worked with the group of 15 stu­dents to or­gan­ise the fash­ion show which took place with re­sound­ing suc­cess on March 28 at Ac­tons Ho­tel.

More than 30 mod­els over 50% of whom were peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity stalked the cat­walk with verve and grace, elic­it­ing cheers and ap­plause from an au­di­ence of more than 200 peo­ple, and rais­ing in ex­cess of €4,000 for char­ity.

“Dur­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the show the stu­dents in­cor­po­rated many of the skills they learned from the course to bring this event to­gether — lead­er­ship, health pro­mo­tion, dis­abil­ity aware­ness,” re­calls He­lena.

“This was an all-in­clu­sive col­lege project as not only did our Health­care stu­dents help to or­gan­ise the show, but some of our film and me­dia stu­dents videoed it while sev­eral stu­dents and teach­ers mod­elled clothes! Ev­ery­one was in­cluded.”

The event was such a suc­cess, and the work­ing part­ner­ship n with Ni­cola was so en­joy­able, that the stu­dents re­quested that Ni­cola fea­ture in their grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony as an hon­orary grad­u­ate: “Ni­cola was pre­sented with a Cer­tifi­cate of Achieve­ment on the night.”

The whole af­fair, says He­lena, re­flects the phi­los­o­phy and ethos of the col­lege: “It show­cased the po­ten­tial of our stu­dents and dis­played the progress they had made dur­ing the course.”

The col­lege, which has a stu­dent co­hort of over 300 stu­dents, draws pupils from Co Cork, from all around Ire­land and from as far away as Spain and Mex­ico.

“It’s a very di­verse and in­ter­na­tional col­lege,” says He­lena, who ex­plains that the pop­u­lar Out­door Ed­u­ca­tion course, for ex­am­ple, a pro­gramme which trains peo­ple for ca­reers in out­doors ac­tiv­i­ties cen­tre such as Kayak­ing In­struc­tion, at­tracts stu­dents from all over Ire­land.

It’s fam­ily-friendly ethos also at­tracts a large co­hort of ma­ture stu­dents, she says, “es­pe­cially moth­ers who have chil­dren at­tend­ing school or col­lege and who are now in­ter­ested and have the time to gain an ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion in their area of in­ter­est.”

Women from the age of 30 and up­wards tend to choose places on the col­lege’s Child­care or Health­care cour­ses: “These cour­ses at­tract the largest per­cent­age of stu­dent of any of the cour­ses we of­fer,” says He­lena, who ex­plains that the child­care course qual­i­fies grad­u­ates to work in the Montes­sori and Creche ar­eas as well as in the area of spe­cial needs.

The col­lege of­fers two Health­care cour­ses which in­clude QQ1 ( for­merly FETAC) Level Five Health­care Sup­port.

This pop­u­lar course, she says, qual­i­fies grad­u­ates to work as health­care as­sis­tants, work­ing with nurses in health­care set­tings such as hos­pi­tals, nurs­ing homes or pri­vate residences. This qual­i­fi­ca­tion is now a manda­tory re­quire­ment put in place by HIQA and is the min­i­mum qual­i­fi­ca­tion to work in any ca­pac­ity in a health­care set­ting. The Kin­sale col­lege is the only col­lege in Ire­land to of­fer an ad­di­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion to stu­dents on this course the De­men­tia Aware­ness course, a City & Guilds Cer­tifi­cate in De­men­tia Aware­ness.

“All of our stu­dents opt for this pro­gramme as it sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves their em­ploy­a­bil­ity,” she says, some­thing that makes sense in the light of re­cent sta­tis­tics which showed that de­men­tia is now over­tak­ing can­cer in the UK as a lead­ing health­care is­sue.

Kin­sale Col­lege is jus­ti­fi­ably proud, both of its learn­ers and of the re­sults they achieve that en­able them to fol­low cour­ses of study in uni­ver­si­ties and in­sti­tutes of tech­nol­ogy, at home and abroad.

In ad­di­tion to class­room learn­ing, stu­dents are reg­u­larly in­volved in ex­cit­ing projects out­side the class­room and in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing Drama per­for­mances, art ex­hi­bi­tions, culi­nary art com­pe­ti­tions and multi-me­dia projects.

Liz Moyni­han, di­rec­tor of Kin­sale Col­lege (front) with staff mem­bers Va­lerie Fo­ley and Lynda O’Con­nor. Pic­ture: Dan Line­han

Stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in a sus­tain­able hor­ti­cul­ture course at the Kin­sale Col­lege of Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion.

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