New course highlights diversity and inclusion in further education and training at CDETB

The first 27 people have graduated this week from a new Level 9 Postgraduate Certificate course in Diversity and Inclusion in FET, a collaboration between City of Dublin ETB and Trinity College Dublin.

The students come from all areas of provision in City of Dublin ETB: the Adult Education Service, Youthreach, FET Colleges, leadership teams, Quality Assurance and FET support services, Training Centres, Guidance and the Education Service to Prisons. A further 28 students are currently studying on the course and another cohort will begin in September 2023. The course will be made available to FET staff from other Education and Training Boards nationally in the future.

Designed for FET staff

Designed specifically for staff working in the Further Education and Training sector, the course was designed by Dr Joanne Banks and Professor Michael Shevlin from Trinity’s School of Education in collaboration with Dr Anne Costelloe and Carrie Archer, Professional Learning and Development Coordinator from City of Dublin ETB.

This partnership was part of the vision of City of Dublin ETB’s Director of Further Education, Blake Hodkinson, who recognised that for FET staff to be able to fully realise the potential of the Future FET Strategy (2020-2024), they would need space and structured opportunities to build on their existing skill sets and knowledge. The strategic pillars underpinning the strategy are building skills, fostering inclusion and facilitating pathways. 

The aim was to build capacity in staff across the entire organisation, and FET sector, to be more inclusive and responsive to the increasing diversity of FET learners and staff. Lecturers on the programme come from both City of Dublin ETB and from the School of Education. This combination brings together a balance of theory and practice from across both sectors that fully embraces learner diversity. 

Blake Hodkinson, Director of Further Education and Training, City of Dublin Education and Training Board:

“The more that we have considered how to best include students and meet their needs, the better we can deliver our service. For City of Dublin ETB, with 28 graduates coming from this course, I am hoping that this will start conversations and actions that will transform our delivery”.

Anne Costelloe, Education Centre, Mountjoy Prison, said:

“Prison educators can often feel isolated and somewhat ‘different’ from other FE teachers because of the prison’s unique context. Engagement on a course like this lessens that sense of isolation and allows for a shared understanding across a range of educational services”.

Prof Carmel O’Sullivan, Head of the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin, said:

“This innovative and timely partnership between Further and Higher Education brings mutual benefits to Trinity and the City of Dublin ETB, and will have far reaching positive consequences for young people in local and regional communities. 

“Sharing the same values of commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, we look forward to building on the success of this joint venture and congratulate our graduates as they lead the way in fostering fully inclusive practices in Further Education.”

Important moment

Dr Joanne Banks, Programme Coordinator, Trinity, said:

“Today marks an important moment in how we, as educators, respond to student diversity across different educational settings. These graduates can now embed principles of equality, diversity and inclusion into their practice giving students equal opportunities to succeed”.

Dr. Christy Duffy, CE of City of Dublin Education and Training Board:

“City of Dublin ETB is committed to our values of diversity and inclusion for all of our learners and staff. I am delighted to see so many staff graduate from this course and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our goal of creating one service in FET with the learner journey at the centre.  

“I commend all the City of Dublin staff who brought this course from inception to reality and hope to see many more graduates in the future.” 

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