From apprenticeships to arts degrees, from literacy to learning for life, upskilling is at the centre of the annual College Awareness Week. The sixth College Awareness Week (CAW) takes place nationwide from November 17th to 23rd 2019. This year the campaign will be officially backed by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
This morning (11th November) at St Mark’s Community School, Tallaght, students showcase an art installation entitled “Through the Keyhole – College is Key”, with life-size silhouettes and a large lock and key symbolising the importance of education in unlocking opportunities.
CAW, founded in Trinity College within the Trinity Access Programmes six years ago, is a multi-organisational and collaborative campaign which invites communities across Ireland to host events in schools, afterschool programmes, Colleges of Further and Higher education, training centres, libraries and businesses, among others. Founded in Trinity College Dublin in 2014, it is now a nationwide campaign, and last year reached 170,000 total participants.
Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor with students from St Mark’s
CAW promotes the benefits of education for all and is committed not only to third level but also to the further education and training (FET) sector, which offers apprenticeships, traineeships, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, community and adult education and literacy services.
The campaign is sponsored Perrigo and supported by a range of education-based organisations. These include SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals and Trinity College Dublin.
This year CAW will enjoy strong support from the Union of Students of Ireland, after USI Congress voted in April to support the campaign and encourage student union representatives in all Higher Education institutions to become involved.
Darren Malone (USI) along with SU reps from TUD, Tallaght campus attending the CAW event in St Mark’s
USI Vice President for the Southern Region, Darren Malone said: “The Union of Students in Ireland is delighted to be a part of College Awareness Week. It is so important that students at second level are given a clear path to progress to higher education, and are made aware of all the pathways available to them. We will be in schools across Ireland throughout the week giving talks on access routes to college, and the importance of the third-level student experience.”
Every year has seen an increase in the number of secondary schools, especially DEIS schools, involved in CAW. Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, said, “The positive effects of education last for life. They are not limited to the individual, but spread widely among their families and communities, and most importantly, are passed on through generations.”