As the sole provider of hospitality and tourism education in the Midlands Region, Athlone Institute of Technology is helping to address skill shortages in the sector by providing high quality training to future chefs, bar and hotel management staff who will go on to work in the some of the country’s best hotels and restaurants.
This year, the multi award-winning institute is offering prospective learners the option of enrolling in three hospitality and leisure programmes funded by Springboard, including a Certificate in Culinary Skills, a Certificate in Food and Beverage Operations and a Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts Practice.
Each of these nationally-accredited programmes has been designed in response to the current and future needs of industry in the Midlands and presents a unique opportunity for learners to avail of free or heavily subsidised upskilling or reskilling. Over the course of these flexible programmes, learners will be furnished with the skills and competencies necessary to begin or advance their career in the fast growing hospitality industry.
Last year was a record year for tourism in Ireland with more than 10.6 million people visiting from overseas - representing a 6.7% increase on 2017. This increased demand has led to significant job creation within the industry. By 2021, over 40,000 new hospitality and tourism jobs will have been created and we need graduates to fill them.
On a national level, the hospitality and tourism sector employs more than 250,000 people making it one of country’s largest indigenous employers. It is also regionally dispersed meaning whether someone lives in Athlone, Donegal or Kerry, there will be jobs in the region – every area has restaurants and hotels in need qualified chefs, bar staff and hotel managers.
In the midlands, 8,400 people are employed in the hospitality and tourism industry, a number that’s growing year-on-year thanks to tourism stimulus initiatives such as Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Ireland’s Ancient East. That number is expected to rise to nearly 10,000 with the opening of Centre Parcs in Co Longford - the largest private tourism development in the history of the state.
Athlone Institute of Technology, with its forward-thinking, industry-focussed approach to education, is producing agile and adaptable graduates that are highly valued. Its hospitality, tourism and leisure students benefit from expert lecturing staff and can avail of opportunities to participate in field visits to Michelin star restaurants, 5 star hotels and even an optional field trip to Malaysia in 2020.
Springboard+ and ICT Skills programmes are free for people who are unemployed, those who were previously self-employed and returners to the workforce. Programmes are also free for people in employment on NFQ Level 6 programmes. For employed participants on programmes NFQ level 7 – 9, 90% of the course fee is funded by the Government, with participants required to contribute just 10% of the fee.
Full details of all Springboard+ programmes are available at www.ait.ie/springboard. Athlone Institute of Technology will be running a Springboard+ and ICT skills information evening on Wednesday, 4th September in Athlone and Friday, 6th September in Portlaoise, giving prospective applicants an opportunity to meet with staff and ask questions.
An educational powerhouse defined by a commitment to academic excellence, rigour and applied education, Athlone Institute of Technology has enjoyed considerable successes in the academic arena this year, most notably being named ‘best in class’ for research across the technological higher education sector. Further solidifying its reputational prowess, the institute was recently awarded ‘Best Academic Partnership’ at the prestigious national Education Awards for its part in developing SURE, Ireland’s first academic network dedicated to promoting undergraduate STEM research across the technological higher education sector. These accolades build upon the institute’s success in winning the Sunday Times Good University Guide ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ award in 2018.