IRISH STUDENTS GLOBALLY RECOGNISED AT CITY & GUILDS MEDALS FOR EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2013..

IRISH STUDENTS GLOBALLY RECOGNISED AT CITY & GUILDS MEDALS FOR EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2013

FIVE inspirational people spanning Munster, Connacht, Leinster and Ulster were today recognised at an international level at the prestigious City & Guilds Medals for Excellence Awards 2013. 

 

The five Medals for Excellence winners were presented with their awards by the Minister for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon, TD, at a gala ceremony held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. 

 

City & Guilds, the global vocational education organisation, runs its annual Medals for Excellence programme to recognise outstanding achievement and high standards by students and lecturers across 81 countries throughout the world.  

 

Today’s recipients are the only people from the Republic of Ireland to receive such medals out of a possible pool of over 2 million people that study for or train people for a City & Guilds qualification each year.  

 

The presentation of this year’s Medals for Excellence has followed the Government’s announcement of the Action Plan for Jobs. 

 

City & Guilds has a proud tradition of enabling people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth. The organisation fully supports the Government’s Action Plan For Jobs. All three of this year’s learner medallists have successfully re-skilled and secured employment as a result of their City & Guilds qualification. 

 

Among the winners was dad-of-one John Sheehan (25) from Kells, Co. Meath. A qualified electrical apprentice who decided to undertake a City & Guilds qualification in Engineering to combat the challenges posed by the economic downturn. This has changed John’s life and he is currently posted in Iraq as a Field Service Engineer for Irish Company, Oil Field Solutions after spending the last year in Algeria.  

 

Also among the recipients to receive this rare accolade was trainer Priyashantha Agalawattage who works at McDonald’s Restaurant in Douglas, Cork as a Training Manager responsible for a team of 105. 

 

Priyashantha has worked for McDonald’s for over 15 years and was nominated for his exemplary work in championing learning since he took over the training programme last year in Douglas. When Priyashantha is not working he spends his time with his wife and three- year-old son, studying accountancy part time to get a degree and also fits in time to give free commerce lessons over skype to students in Sri Lanka who can’t afford private lessons.  

 

The recipients were proudly watched by their family and friends as they received their medals from Minister Cannon at the gala ceremony. The Minister said: ‘Celebrations such as today’s Awards Ceremony, demonstrate that even in a difficult economic environment, Ireland, through organisations such as City & Guilds, is continuing to produce highly qualified, highly educated and highly trained individuals.  A well-educated and qualified workforce has always been and still remains one of Ireland’s fundamental strengths. 

 

As Minister for Training and Skills, it is my responsibility to ensure that unemployed individuals are provided with appropriate advice, support, education and training to enable them to take advantage of the new job opportunities which will arise as the economy recovers. It is fair to say that part of our economic recovery depends on the skills and creativity of our workforce and that City & Guilds qualifications have an important role to play in this.’ 

 

The City & Guilds Medals for Excellence are aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and unlock their potential.  

 

Today’s five medal winners will now go forward to represent Ireland at the prestigious Lion Awards in London which recognises the best of the best among City & Guilds learners and tutors.  The glamorous event will be held on Wednesday 5th June. 

 

The Lion Awards is the culmination of the Medals for Excellence Awards and the highlight of the City & Guilds awards calendar. 106 medal winners have been selected this year to go forward for just nine City & Guilds Lion Awards.  

 

The five recipients of today’s City & Guilds Ireland awards range from the engineering, IT and hospitality sectors.  

 

Also speaking at the event, Brid Healy, Regional Manager – Europe at City & Guilds International stressed the ever growing importance of organisations like City & Guilds in helping people to realise their full potential. She stated:

‘Our award recipients today are real life ambassadors for the value and importance of vocational education and skills. They provide inspiration for those entering the world of vocational education for the first time or for those returning to education to develop new skills.’ 

 

City & Guilds Medals for Excellence Winners 2013This year’s five Medal for Excellence winners are: 

• Priyashantha Agalawattage from Co. Cork, Trainer of the City & Guilds NVQ in Customer Service and Diploma in Hospitality Services at McDonald’s Restaurant Douglas. 

• Tim Fletcher from Co. Donegal achieved a City & Guilds Diploma for Software Developers at FÁS Training Centre Letterkenny.

• Kenneth Ivers from Kildare achieved a City & Guilds Certificate in Computer Aided Engineering at FÁS Training Centre Raheen, Co. Limerick. 

• Kevin McLaughlin from Co. Donegal is a tutor of the City & Guilds Software Developers qualifications at the FÁS Training Centre Letterkenny.

• John Sheehan from Co. Meath achieved a City & Guilds Certificate in Engineering at FÁS Training Centre Baldoyle.  

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