Longford Women's Link (LWL) held their graduation ceremony on International Women’s Day (Wednesday, March 8) to celebrate the achievements of 25 learners who graduated with a QQI Level 5 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education and 11 who graduated with a QQI Level 6 Major Award in Early Childhood Care and Education.
It was also National Adult Learning Week and IWD was an ideal day to mark the excellent outcomes that learners have achieved, all of whom are women.
LWL graduates are participants on the DSP-supported Childcare Community Employment Scheme which provides accredited education (QQI Level 5 and 6) and on-the-job training for those who wish to pursue a career in Early Years Education.
LWL is the lead sponsor for this scheme in County Longford and has consistently achieved excellent progression rates in employment and further education, highlighting the importance of the CE Programme in supporting individuals into real and meaningful careers.
This is especially critical for women who have traditionally had to bear the majority of caring responsibilities and have not been able to access opportunities to support their economic independence.
At the ceremony on March 8, graduates and their families were welcomed by Tara Farrell, Deputy CEO of LWL who thanked the DSP for their support to date.
Guest Speaker Liz Waters (Director of An Cosán VCC and President of AONTAS, the National Adult Learner Organisation) highlighted the valuable and essential role of Early Years Educators and their critical contribution in shaping the lives of children.
Liz outlined the challenges facing the Early Years Sector not least of which is the fact that it is low-paid but she encouraged graduates to continue on their education journey, particularly as LWL are delivering the Level 8 Honours Degree in Childcare in partnership with IT Carlow.
Eamonn Guilfoyle (Assistant Principal Midlands North, DSP) then presented the learners with their certificates and congratulated them on their achievements.
LWL CEO Louise Lovett closed the ceremony by wishing the graduates well in their future careers and thanked everyone for their participation in the ceremony.