KWETB has a range of internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders include learners; staff members; the Senior Management Team; colleague schools, centres and services; and Board and Committee Members. External stakeholders in the Kildare and Wicklow region include the community; parents and guardians; and employers. Nationally, stakeholders include the Department of Education and Skills; SOLAS; ETBI and colleague ETBs; QQI and other awarding bodies; DEASP; other education and training providers; and learner, employer and community advocacy and representative groups.
In 2016, KWETB delivered FET programmes to over 15,000 beneficiaries with 5,778 full-time and 9,656 part-time beneficiaries. A total of over 1,000 courses were developed and delivered across multiple sites in Kildare and Wicklow. Courses were accredited by QQI, City and Guilds, Pearson’s, BTEC, CIDESCO, CIBTAC, ECDL, ITEC, RTITB, CompTIA and Microsoft. In 2016, KWETB certified a total of 8,416 QQI Awards.
SOLAS was established under the Further Education and Training Act, 2013, to manage, co-ordinate and the support the delivery of integrated Further Education and Training by the ETBs; to monitor delivery and provide funding based on reliable, good quality data and positive outcomes; and to promote FET provision that is relevant to individual learner needs and national skills needs. KWETB develops and submits an annual FET Service Plan and SOLAS agrees the planned provision and associated budget. SOLAS is also responsible for the management of the National Apprenticeship System.
Following the implementation of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Act in 2012, KWETB’s legacy quality assurance agreements with FETAC transferred to QQI. The Act provided for the maintenance of these relationships until such time as they were replaced by new quality assurance arrangements with QQI; this transition process is known as ‘re-engagement’ and includes policies relating to Further Education and Training and Higher Education and sector-specific Further Education and Training policies. QQI issued a total 8,416 certificates for KWETB learners in 2017. KWETB is represented on the ETBI Quality Assurance Forum and QA Strategy Group.
There is a protocol between the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and KWETB regarding the referral of unemployed people to FET courses. Information is provided to DEASP case workers regarding ETB provision and clients may be referred to the ETB for specific courses or for guidance. The participation of DEASP-referred participants is tracked and reported through PLSS. KWETB also consults the DEASP on an annual basis to ensure that the education and training needs of DEASP clients are addressed in planned provision.
Engagement with employers is a key priority for KWETB and seeks to better position FET to more effectively support Government policy, increase employment, decrease unemployment and ultimately increase competitiveness and productivity in the Irish economy. Staff within the training services have, as part of their responsibilities, the responsibility to engage with employers, including the Senior Training Advisors for apprenticeship.
KWETB liaises with a number of industry representative groups including the CIF, RAI, Irish Hoteliers’ Federation, HSE, IBEC, IDA, FIT, INTEL and Enterprise Ireland.
Regional Skills Forum
KWETB is represented on the Mid-East Regional Skills Forum. The forum provides an opportunity for the ETB, with other bodies and agencies such as Skillnets, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Local Authorities, LESN, DEASP, Fáilte Ireland, IBEC etc. to engage in structured dialogue between enterprise sectors and education and training providers focussed on identifying skills requirements and building bespoke solutions responsive to regional business and industry needs.
The Department of Education and Skills allocates additional teaching hours to KWETB under the ‘Co-operation with Other Institution Hours’ scheme. This scheme provides teaching services to other institutions and bodies as part of the remit of the ETB to provide for continuing education in their areas. Co-operation Hours for FET are allocated by SOLAS on the direction of the Department of Education and Schools and are allocated to a variety of services and bodies by KWETB including:
- Further Education
- Community Training Centre, Newbridge
- Cuan Mhuire
- Athy Travellers Club
- Adult Literacy
- Moore Abbey
- Education Unit, Curragh Camp
- Education Unit, Shelton Abbey Open Prison
- Athy Alternative Project
- Hazel Hotel, Monasterevin
- Anne’s Special School, Curragh (KARE)
- Mark’s School
Co-operation Hours for FET are allocated by SOLAS on the direction of the Department of Education and Schools.
Contracted Training is a procured service to deliver training within Kildare and Wicklow. A new tendering process developed by the Office of Government Procurement and SOLAS has been completed, and successful contractors may work with KWETB training services for a period up to two years. When delivering training on behalf of KWETB, they do so under KWETB’s QA agreement for training services, i.e. Transitional Quality Assurance System (TQAS). The internal verification process is undertaken by the contracted trainer and the TSO. The TSO also appoints an External Authenticator from an approved EA panel. Results are uploaded to QQI by the TSO via the RCCRS.
Community Training Providers
Community Training provides training within the community for people who are economically or educationally disadvantaged. This is a granted service for programmes delivered on behalf of training centres; internal verification is undertaken by the provider, all results are reviewed by the TSO/RAP and all resultant certificates are requested by the TSO. Training is provided across the programme types outlined below:
Community Training Centres
KWETB has one Community Training Centre (CTC) which provides second chance education and training for early school leavers, aged between 16-21 years of age. It is operated by an independent company and the board of this company is funded by KWETB through an agreement to collaborate with specified programme deliverables and outcomes identified for the centres. The CTC is required to adhere to KWETB’s Quality Assurance policies and procedures and are monitored on a regular basis by training services staff. There is one CTC operating within the KWETB area in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
Local Training Initiatives
Local Training Initiatives (LTIs) provide vocational training opportunities, learning supports and project-based learning to marginalised learners aged between 18-35 years of age with low level education, who have been referred by DEASP. They are delivered through training services by sponsoring and coordinating community based organisations. The proposal for an LTI emanates from the sponsoring group in response to a need identified at local level. Through a service contract with KWETB, LTI sponsors are provided with the funding to deliver a response to the specific training needs within their locality. LTIs are required to adhere to KWETBs Quality Assurance policies and procedures together with their own specific operational guidelines too. KWETBs LTIs are monitored on a regular basis by the training services staff.
Specialist Training Providers
Specialist Training Providers, such as the National Learning Network, address the identified training needs of people with disabilities who are experiencing exclusion and labour market disadvantage.
Other Community Education Providers
KWETB provides community education in partnership with a wide range of community, statutory and voluntary groups in Kildare and Wicklow. Community education is learner-centred and community-based and seeks to provide developmental education opportunities for people in a wide range of priority groups.
Third Level Providers
KWETB prioritises progression for learners both internally and externally to other providers including at Third Level. The Higher Education Links scheme provides invaluable opportunities to FET learners to progress while MOUs are also in place.
KWETB is involved in a range of sectoral QA groups, projects and fora, including the CE Forum, the FET Director’s Forum, the QA Strategy Group, the QA Forum, the ETB/QQI Validation Working Group, the ETBI Assessment Procedures Working Group, the Work Experience Review Group, the IQAVET Forum, the PLSS Advisory Group and the RPL Network among others. KWETB are also involved in many European projects. For information in relation to any of the above, please contact ….