The multiplier event for the ICARO project in Ireland was held in the Institute of Education, St. Patrick’s Campus, DCU, Dublin on Thursday 20th June 2019. A range of stakeholders were invited including members of the local action groups, tutors and trainers from further education and training settings, employers, government officials and graduates, current students and lecturers from education and training programmes.
The event consisted of presentations from ICARO Irish partners on the design, development and delivery of the intellectual outputs of the project including the initial research on soft skills in each partner country, the soft skills assessment report, the curriculum, piloting of the ‘From Home to Work’ course and the handbook for tutors. Trainers who had taken part in the national and international training for the course presented and spoke on their experience and the learning taken from it.
Two guest speakers presented on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) in further education and training nationally and locally in education and training boards. Ciara Ni Fhloinn from SOLAS the Irish Further Education and Training Authority presented the college framework and operations to the audience and discussed the range of industry-certified courses available to FET tutors and stakeholders through the national Moodle platform. Aoife Fitzsimons, TEL coordinator from Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board spoke of the integration of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) tools and apps in FET courses and how tutors and learners were enhancing the digital literacy of learners and integrating ICT into teaching and soft skills development.
The audience of over 35 teachers, tutors, stakeholders and students engaged with the material through discussion and questioning. The need for soft skills assessment and development was acknowledged and welcomed although concerns were expressed by tutors working with learners with additional needs and disabilities that accessibility for any TEL or virtual learning environments needs to be a priority and built into the design of such interventions.
One tutor commented:
“We incorporate soft skills in all our programmes however this is very much dependant on the skills, knowledge and attributes of the tutor, the course described in ICARO would enable tutors to provide more focused direction to learners and also empower the learner to improve their soft skills in an orderly fashion at their own pace”.