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Posted 1 October 2010

Pioneer of Tourism Education Pays Return Visit to AIT

Jim Denby visits AIT's hospitality facilities
Jim Denby (second from right) pictured with Jack Eyan. Margaret O’Loghlen and John O’Hara.

A pioneer of tourism education in Ireland paid a return visit to Athlone Institute of Technology this week, some four decades after he helped start training courses in Athlone for the industry.

Jim Denby, formerly senior training adviser with Cert, met with John O’Hara, head of department; and culinary lecturers, Margaret O’Loghlen and Jack Ryan, as well as other members of staff. Mr Ryan was the lecturer in professional cookery in the 1970s and together with Mr Denby was instrumental in the professionalisation of education and training for those who wished to work in the hospitality industry.

According to Mr O’Hara, “From its beginning, AIT has led the way in terms of education for this vital industry. It was a pleasure to introduce Jim Denby to the excellent facilities which students now enjoy in Athlone and to hear stories of those early days. We are indebted to pioneers like Jim and Jack Ryan who helped revolutionise the Irish hospitality industry.”

Amongst the courses in hotel and catering training provided in AIT in the 1970s were chef/cooks course, hospital cooks course and guest house management. AIT now offers a variety of programmes in areas such as hotel and leisure management, spa management, tourism and guest services management, sports management, culinary arts and bar supervision. Further information is available at

Cert was the state training agency responsible for providing a trained workforce for the hotel, catering and tourism industry. It offered training courses for those wishing to pursue a career in this field and for employees in the industry who wanted to develop new skills. Training and education for the hospitality industry is now the responsibility of Fáilte Ireland and the institutes of technology.

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