VTOS party in Newbridge to mark 30 years in Kildare

Celebrations: Past pupils invited to event in Ryston this Friday

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VTOS party in Newbridge to mark 30 years in Kildare

VTOS staff pictured in 2014. Picture: Michael Donnelly

UPDATE: This event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances

VTOS is to host a party in Ryston Social Club this Friday night, January 17, to mark its 30 years of education in Kildare.

An open invitation is extended to all the students who have attended VTOS courses over the past three decades. All are welcome to the event, which starts at 7.30pm and RSVPs can be made to 087 1889291 or via the VTOS Newbridge Facebook page.

It promises to be a night of celebration with music, refreshments, fun and the opportunity to catch up with friends, according to the organisers.

VTOS (Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme) was established in 1989, through a European initiative supported by the Department of Education and Skills. It was to provide early school leavers, and the long-term unemployed, with the general education, academic, training and vocational skills needed to gain employment, or progress to further and/or higher education and training leading to employment.

VTOS was set up in Georges Street, Newbridge, supported by Kildare VEC, latterly KWETB. It has worked with a maximum of 125 students a year.

A warren of classrooms, computer labs and art and drama rooms developed at the Georges Street premises to cater for the needs of the students.

“ Some rooms did not even have daylight but the work that happened there, and the atmosphere, was fantastic,” according to Mairead O’Halloran of VTOS Newbridge, who has taught there for 18 years.

“ Everyone that joins VTOS wants some form of change: whether change of job, career, education, social skills, practical skills, confidence etc. This collective bond, together with the support of VTOS person-centred programmes and staff, has allowed huge growth and success for students in achieving their goals.”

VTOS Newbridge moved from its first location to a brand new building on Station Road in the town.

“There are lovely light filled rooms with great views over the town of Newbridge. It’s a very different premises but the students’ learning, development and successes are continuing and flourishing. As previously, VTOS is adapting to student and employer demands and is in the process of developing a state-of-the-art Digital Hub,” added Mairead.

All VTOS programmes are designed to meet the needs of individual students, and are closely linked to market and employer requirements. Over the 30 years since it was set up, it has successfully run programmes in: Business Studies, Computer Studies, Third Level Foundation, General Education, Community Care, Community and Health Services, Child Care, Art, Craft and Design, Computer Networking Systems, Digital Media, Leaving Certificate, ECDL, Youthwork, Theatre Studies, Catering, Tourism, Health Service Skills, Employment Skills, Digital Media and NUIM Certificates in Psychology and Sociology.

These programmes have been accredited by QQI, formerly FETAC, Levels 4, 5 and 6, NUIM and the Dept. of Education and Skills.

At present VTOS offers full time educational programmes with Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI) accreditation at levels 4, 5 and Level 6. All VTOS programmes are free of charge and you are eligible if: you are 21 years of age or over and in receipt of unemployment payment for 156 days (six months) or if you are a dependent of a social welfare recipient. VTOS is full-time with classes from Monday to Friday. You will maintain your Social Welfare Benefits while studying. It may also be possible to qualify for free childcare for children under the Childcare Employment and Training Support (CETS).

For more information on programmes, contact VTOS, Áras Sláinte, Station Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare or 087 2188291.