The IT, Tralee Graduation on Friday 24th October saw the presentation of certificates to a group of seven women from the Traveller Community. The Seven women successfully completed a HETAC Level 6 Minor Award in the Fundamentals of Culinary and Pastry Operations. This pilot project commenced in June 2011 when three Experiential Taster Programmes in Professional Cookery were offered to the traveller communities in Killarney, Tralee and Listowel over 36 women took part. Following the success of the Taster Programmes, some of the students began a 10 credit minor award at HETAC Level 6 in April 2012.
One of the objectives of the IT, Tralee was to develop formally recognised and goal orientated links between the Institute and the local Traveller community. In March 2010 the Institute appointed Christina Boland as the Traveller Community Liaison Officer to develop links between IT, Tralee and the Traveller Community. Since then the Institute has had a lot of success forming links with the Traveller Community through facilitating engagement relating to access to third level education and support services to members of this community. Some of the initiatives included visits to the IT, Tralee Open Day, presentations to KDYS/Youthreach and home visits.
During his address to the 900 plus graduates on the day Dr Oliver Murphy, President, IT, Tralee said, “The Institute is delighted to have awarding this cohort of Traveller students with their certificates and this event marks a unique milestone for the Institute. The students worked extremely hard throughout the programme and displayed great enthusiasm for the programme and third level life. We hope that this is only the start of many more successful programmes designed for the Traveller Community as we endeavour to further develop progression routes for adult Traveller learners through the Institute”.
According to T.J O Connor, Head of Section, Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Department, IT, Tralee “one of the students compared embarking on this programme as the equivalent of stepping onto the moon as before this programme she would have never imagined being in a third level institution let alone completing a programme. We in the Hotel, Culinary and Tourism Department are very proud to have been part of this and wish the graduates all the very best in the future”.