Athlone Institute of Technology secures €1.4 million for hospitality education

Athlone Institute of Technology, as part of a consortium of six Institutes of Technology (IoTs), has been successful in its bid to secure €1.4 million for hospitality education through Springboard. The application, which was led by LYIT in partnership with AIT, CIT, IT Tralee, GMIT and WIT, forms part of a new tranche of government funding designed to address severe shortages within the hospitality sector.

The application garnered prodigious support from key industry agencies, including the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) and the Irish Hospitality Industry (IHI), who are all too aware of the paucity of suitably qualified hospitality workers, most notably chefs and professional frontline staff in food, beverages, and accommodation. The need for middle and senior management to continuously upskill has also been flagged as an area of key importance.

As part of the submission, Athlone Institute of Technology requested funding for an NFQ Level 7 Diploma in Restaurant Operations Management. The part-time programme is designed to furnish students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the Restaurant industry at management level and will ensure that graduates are technically oriented and flexible enough to work across many areas of the hospitality industry. Students will have the benefit of individualised attention, instant feedback and hands-on experience. A structured work placement will also be offered as a complement to the coursework.

Anthony Johnston, Head of Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, welcomed the funding for Athlone Institute of Technology saying: “the Springboard support for hospitality education and training in the Midlands Region reflects the institute’s aim to support local hotels and restaurants.”

Other consortium members submitted proposals for programmes in Culinary Skills, Food and Beverage Operations and Hotel Management. In total, 230 spaces will be made available to prospective students at operational, supervisory and management education levels across the four hospitality courses.

All programmes will be offered on a part-time basis, taking place just one or two days per week over an academic year and are available free of charge to homemakers wishing to return to work and those on the live register. Springboard programmes are also available to employed participants at NFQ Level 6 (Culinary Skills and Food & Beverage Operations) free of charge while applicants to NFQ Level 7 and Level 8 (Restaurant Management and Hotel Management respectively), wishing to upskill or reskill will be required to pay a nominal cost of 10% of the course fee.

Tina Maree, National Executive Officer of the Irish Hospitality Institute, commended the advances made by the IoT Sector in the development of flexible educational programmes, providing students with the opportunity to learn, upskill and work and said that the initiative can only be a positive development in attracting people to work within the hospitality sector. The proposals were also recently endorsed and commended at the Hospitality Oversight Group Meeting in Dublin whose provision is to oversee education and training developments in the hospitality sector. Speaking at the meeting, Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the RAI, welcomed the proposals and the commitment of the IT sector in their work on training and education for the sector.

Applications for Athlone Institute of Technology’s NFQ Level 7 Diploma in Restaurant Management can be made through the Springboard portal www.springboardcourses.ie until August 31st, 2018. Classes will commence September 16th, 2018.

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