2 May 2022
By Tom Collins
Official opening of the Cork College of Further Education and Training Sullane Centre in Macroom
Wednesday April 27th marked a huge milestone for educational development in Macroom as Cork College of Further Education and Training’s Sullane Centre was officially opened by Cork County Deputy Mayor Cllr. Gobnait Moynihan.
This formal opening marked over six decades of delivering education services to members of the Macroom community and greater region since they were first established by St. Vincent De Paul with the assistance of the then County Cork Vocational Education Committee (now Cork Education and Training Board.)
The Deputy Mayor recalled the progression of adult education and further education services provided by the centre over the years and paid tribute to Cork Education and Training Board for their continued investment and commitment to improving educational opportunities within the Macroom community.
Cllr. Moynihan said: “I would like to commend Director of Further Education and Training John Fitzgibbons and Chief Executive Denis Leamy, firstly acknowledging this visible investment to provide a high standard of premises to deliver quality further education and training services locally.
“This evening’s event marks the next step of this journey and once again demonstrates Cork ETB’s commitment to Macroom or more accurately the ‘Sullane Valley’ region to provide quality Further Education and Training opportunities tailored to the learning needs of local the community.”
She also had high praise for the staff at the Sullane Centre:
“We all know this opening of the Cork College of FET Sullane Centre is so much more than just bricks and mortar. At the end of the day, we know it only works and can be successful if we meet the needs of the learners and I would like to acknowledge to the teaching staff for their commitment to providing a high standard of learning and particularly thank them for their perseverance over recent years, especially during times of ‘lockdown’ in ensuring that services continued, and learners kept being engaged,” Cllr. Moynihan concluded.
A mural was also unveiled at the event which commemorates the death of Art Ó Laoighre in the 18th century.
This was completed as part of Cork ETB’s Arts Strategy and also demonstrates Cork ETB’s commitment to promotion of the Irish language and local heritage.
Director of Further Education and Training John Fitzgibbons concluded the event with some closing comments and said that the opening represented “a further step towards the delivery of Cork Education and Training Board’s key mission statement, ensuring through the Cork College of FET – Sullane Centre – A Pathway is provided locally for Every Learner.”
About Cork College of FET -Sullane Centre
Adult education services in the 1970’s in Macroom by the Society of Vincent De Paul with the assistance of the then Cork Vocational Educational Committee (now Cork Education and Training Board) in response to a need identified by St Vincent De Paul that some adults in the area needed assistance with reading, writing, spelling and maths skills.
Classes were originally run from a room over the then local St Vincent De Paul Shop. Volunteers from the local community were trained as Adult Literacy tutors and they gave their time freely each weaak to help people with difficulties in Reading, Writing, Spelling & Maths. This tradition of one-to-one voluntary support continues at the centre to this day.
In the early 2000’s and with VEC support, adult education services further developed and part-time courses were provided across an increasing range of subject areas. These included communications, Irish, art, beginner computers and personal development. Adult Education Guidance Services were also introduced to support learners both in their educational choices and progression options.
Also, during this time and in response to evolving changes in Irish society, English language support classes were introduced in response to the growing diversity of the community.
In 2005 to meet the growing level of courses being provided in the local community, Cork VEC rented a building, just up the road at Grotto House from where we gather this event and services continued to be provided and develop there up until 2020.
For further information on Cork College of FET and any associated apprenticeship programmes, visit https://www.corketb.ie/fet