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***** OLDC NEWS ARCHIVE ITEM........... PUBLISHED November 2015 *****

Front Row left to right: Stephanie Bolger, Mary Donnellan, Claire Garvey, Jean Donnelly and Veronica O'Brien.

Back Row left to right: Brendan O'Loughlin, Jimmy Pearse, John Troy, Brian Keating, Martin Houlihan, Kieran McEvoy and Cormac Mahon.


Veronica O'Brien Divisional Manager (Principal Officer Department of Social Protection) recently presented nine members of Offaly Local Development Company staff and one former TÚS participant with their certificates for successful completion of the FETAC Level 5 (full award) Community Development course.

Upskilling and developing the competencies of OLDC staff, particularly in a new programme like TÚS, gives Offaly Local Development Company the advantage of delivering a quality programme experience for the participants, the voluntary organisations who host participants, and the supervisors who manage the programme on a day to day basis.

Since its inception OLDC has supported over 800 people across the county in work labour schemes in either TÚS or RSS. This has proven to be a successful intervention for many unemployed people and has led both directly and indirectly to many people re-entering the workforce.

It became clear that the development and success of these work labour schemes to date was due to the staff's groundwork in creating successful and varied placements. This type of networking and involvement with all aspects of rural and community life brought vibrancy to the scheme, and in the interest of improving the skills of these staff members, Offaly Local Development Company in conjunction with the Laois/Offaly Education and Training Board designed and promoted a FETAC Level 5 Community Development course to benefit staff members working under these different labour schemes across Offaly.

The course was delivered in-house over a college year period and consisted of eight carefully selected modules covering integral skills for staff members to become field workers promoting Community Development across the county. Each module posed different challenges and required staff members to invest many extra hours of work into completing assignments. More importantly, staff members had to apply the proposed theories and learned to their own work situations and daily activities to complete assignments.

The course was very successful and has encouraged some to take up higher learning opportunities in this area at Diploma and Degree level. The Community Development qualification gives supervisors a greater awareness and knowledge of how voluntary organisations operate and the processes that can be used to more effectively engage with groups and identify work plans. For the company, it has provided new field workers who think beyond the limitations of set programmes and now consider how government programmes can work together to maximise holistic benefits across communities.

Written by: Jennifer Dunne (Tús Participant)

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