A revelation of learning: How Further Education works.
PRESS RELEASE Oireachtas Education Visit 22/03/23
Further Education can and does work: Oireachtas Education Committee visits Ballyfermot College.
Staff and students of Ballyfermot College of Further Education were delighted to welcome the Oireachtas Education Committee to the college this week led by our own Graduate Senator Eileen Flynn.
The visiting members toured the new professional industry Suite for Nursing, Childcare and Social Care, which include a state-of-the-art Nursing Skills Laboratory, Early Learning and Care Training Créche, a TeamZone Collaboration Hub.
The Committee and visitors engaged with the staff and students in practical activities. Students demonstrated their skills in each of the courses, such as vital signs recording in nursing, infant Storytime in childcare, and collaborative staff work on course developments in the TeamZone, all part of the suite of facilities for these popular courses, which offer full employment on graduation.
Top of the discussion list was the importance of developing progression links from Further Education into Highter Education for Ballyfermot College students in Nursing, Early Learning and Care (childcare), and Social Care, in line with Minister Simon Harris’s goal to develop these links nationally.
Students and graduates of Nursing, Childcare, and Social Care, and Lifelong Learning shared their experience, especially supports and challenges of their studies with the Committee. Nursing graduates such as Zoe is now a Clinical Nurse Manager L1 in Intellectual Disability nursing, while graduates Ellie and Aoife are now starting their respective journeys in Midwifery (UCD) and General Nursing (TCD). Childcare students Amy and Marta from Ballyfermot, Sunita and Amy from Clondalkin and Katie from Kilcock met with the committee. Childcare graduates Leah and Karma are now working Junior Genuis while Elaine is qualified at managerial level, with a level 8 degree from TUD.
Senator Eileen Flynn spoke highly of her experience of the college
“I think it (BCFE) gives people of this area, an opportunity to go on to university if they want and an opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The visitors also met with Students on our Lifelong Learning course, who then progressed to higher level courses in the college.
Describing the visit as “a revelation, [to see] the extent of the work going on here” Deputy Jim O’Callaghan said,
“A visit here is so much more impactful than somebody coming from the college into Leinster House and telling us about it.”
The committee also tasted the extent of Ballyfermot College’s support facilities and their importance in supporting students completing their course and progressing from one course to another higher level course: Academic Support, Career Guidance and Student Wellbeing Support services, as well as the connected library which serves both the college students and the local community.
The Ballyfermot College staff outlined the importance of the connected Library where students and the community alike can work, rest, get a drink, charge their smart devices and enjoy the comfortable study facilities and supportive Library staff.
Senator Flynn outlined her impressions of the day;
“I was a student in Ballyfermot College, myself, and I have a passion for the college.
“It was brilliant for me today as a proud past student of the college, but also as a committee member in the Oireachtas, to be able to bring forward some of the asks of the college. The college has top of the range facilities from pre-nursing, to the social care area in general and the media area and TV studios. It’s just absolutely incredible. To be back 10 years later and to speak with the Teachers that helped me on my journey to be the person I am today is absolutely incredible and very emotional. To see some of the positive changes within the college, and how further education can and does work. Today we’ve seen… how the college works for students, and how we should extend some of the courses to open up more opportunities for our students to go on and to do Nursing degree’s and to (go on and) get their Level Six in Childcare. So it was brilliant for me to be here today”
Deputy Jim O’Callaghan told us the visit was his first to Ballyfermot College, and that
“It’s a revelation, the extent of the work that’s going on here. There’s so much learning that’s being engaged in. Education really liberates people and it provides a pathway to better things in your life. From what I’ve been told it’s very important to the college that a lot of the people who come to the college do come from the local community. I think that’s something that needs to be fostered and promoted.”
Find out more about all our courses at www.bcfe.ie
NOTE TO THE EDITOR: Photographs by Amber Kelly and Culann Farrell, Media and Broadcasting Level 5 students. Interviewer Amanda Fitzgerald, Radio Programming and Production Level 6 course.