Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week series. This week we spoke to Ken Farragher from the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board.
Hi I am Ken Farragher, Area Training Manager with the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board, based in the Mervue training centre and from Ballybane originally, so not far to travel!
I worked as production manager in American Power Conversion in Ballybrit for 16 years before moving into training, firstly with FAS in Athlone before transferring to SOLAS and now the GRETB in the Mervue business park.
Tell us about GRETB.
Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board was established in 2013, as a result of the merger of the VEC’s of Galway City, Galway County, Roscommon and FAS/SOLAS Training centre Galway. GRETB is one of 16 ETB’s in Ireland and we have oversight over Education and Training provision for over 20,000 people in Galway and Roscommon, with a staff of approx. 1500 and an annual budget of almost 100 million.
Further Education and Training allows adults an alternative path to gain a recognised qualification and a route into work or further develop their careers, it also offers the learners an opportunity to progress to a third level institute, as most of our programmes have progressions routes to college. The headquarters of the Further Education and Training (FET) Department is based in Mervue and oversees the FET programmes throughout Galway and Roscommon.
Also based in Mervue is our apprenticeship department and we are seeing a strong return in the demand from employers for apprentices. Apprenticeships are the ultimate example of earning while you learn. An apprentice will be paid by his employer and the state for the full duration of their apprenticeship, while also spending up to 48 weeks of their apprenticeship training in either a training centre or Institute of Technology. There is now a whole new suite of apprenticeships available and information on them and existing trades can be found on gretbtrainingcentre.ie or apprenticeship.ie.
How did you get started?
I went to the Bish in Galway and as soon as my Leaving Cert was finished I was on the bus to a building site in London , when I came back after various short term jobs I was lucky enough to get work in American Power Conversion. It was while I was in APC that I availed of the 2nd chance in Education and I attended firstly GMIT and then university of Limerick. While doing that personal development I worked my way from machine operator to Production Manager in APC. When manufacturing was outsourced to India , I took redundancy and started work in the FAS training centre in Athlone as Assistant Manager and followed that by becoming Area Training Manager with GRETB, based in Galway.
How does being located in Galway benefit your organisation?
With Galway having a large number of multinational companies we have been able to work with industry and tailor our training to their needs such as the development of one of Europe’s only dedicated cleanroom operator training facilities here in Mervue. Also the IT Hubs that are based in Galway allow us to develop new apprenticeships such as the IT Networks and Software apprenticeships. GRETB has worked with local employers to develop Career Traineeships in areas such as Construction, Pharmacy Sales, Laboratory Assistant , Beauty therapist etc… In Mervue we are served well on a city bus route and this helps our Apprentice’s and Learners travel to our centre.
How has being a member of Galway Chamber helped you?
Maeve and the team have their finger on the pulse of what Galway industry needs , they have provided networking opportunities for my team and I over the years that have helped us to develop the new training programmes required by industry and they are only ever a phone call away for support and advice.
What motivates you?
Working with the great team in GRETB who always put the learners first, seeing our centre full of learners working to achieve their goals and constantly working on new projects.
What is the best thing about being involved in your industry?
Working with people on a day to day basis and giving them the opportunity to gain confidence and qualifications, that will help them to pursue their chosen career or continue into further education and training. Seeing learners and apprentices who have had a challenging experience in school or college coming into our centre, they leave GRETB with their qualifications and a job lined up, they have changed their life’s around and it’s great to feel we played some part in that.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
What GRETB offer:
Day Courses – Information Technology, Blended Learning, Engineering – Autocad, Soldworks CAD, Retail Sales, Digital Marketing, Tourism with Business, Transport – HGV Rigid, Artic & Bus Driving, Sports Recreation, Finance & Administration, Cleanroom & Packaging Operations, Traineeships – Pharmacy Sales, Beauty Therapist, Interior Systems.
Evening & Saturday Courses, Apprenticeships, Community Training – Local Training Initiatives, Community Training, Specialist Training Programmes, Justice Workshop.
How to Apply: Online www.gretbtrainingcentre.ie, or www.fetchcourses.ie, Call to your Local Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection Office. For Further information call into the GRETB Training Centre.
For Regular updates follow GRETB on Facebook and Twitter.