Minister Noel Ahern TD launches DIT CPD Certificate in Volunteering

Monday, 27th November; Minister of State Department of the Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Noel Ahern TD today launched the DIT Continuing Professional Development Certificate in Volunteering in DIT Aungier Street, Dublin 2. The Certificate course, the only one of its kind in the country, was developed by DIT in direct response to the Government's desire to develop and support the voluntary sector. The course is open to and designed specifically for active volunteers whether working or in third-level. The first course begins today and is fully subscribed with 40 participants taking part.

Speaking at the launch Minister Ahern said; 'A recently completed study found that the voluntary sector currently provides over €2.5billion worth of services to society. Voluntary activity is critical to a vibrant and inclusive society. The support of a project like this for volunteering is therefore very important.'

The DIT CPD Certificate in Volunteering was developed by DIT lecturer Joseph McGrath and Director of the DIT Community Links Programme, Dr Thomas Cooke. According to Joseph McGrath, 'The provision of such a course is very timely in providing the kind of supports needed to harness the volunteerism potential that exists in this country. With an average of 20% of the population donating an average of 15 hours to volunteering a month the input and potential of the sector is enormous.'

Left to right: Pictured at the launch Minister of State Department of the Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Noel Ahern TD and Joseph McGrath, DIT Lecturer.

The course, to be run at both the DIT Aungier Street and Mountjoy Square campuses, takes a multifaceted approach and is designed to allow volunteers to enhance their expertise and become more effective in their voluntary activity. It involves a 12 week programme covering modules such as personal effectiveness, time management, change management, interpersonal skills, relationship and conflict management, communication and influencing skills. Each student on the Certificate in Volunteering will have access to a mentor who will provide personal advice and support to help the student successfully complete the course.

Joseph McGrath went on to say; 'With International Volunteers Day on the 5th December the volunteerism sector both in Ireland and world wide will be in the spotlight. The volunteers, who give of their time, expertise and knowledge, warrant this day of recognition but they require the on-going supports to assist them with the contribution that they make to society. The work of DIT in this area is highly ambitious and it plans to introduce a suite of e-learning modules during 2007 to facilitate wider participation.'

DIT has a long tradition as an educator and supporter of voluntary activity, in Dublin, nationally and internationally. The DIT Community Links Programme, for example, targets socio-economically disadvantaged persons at primary, secondary, tertiary and community level. One of its projects the Digital Community Project has provided over 20 computer centres in high density flat complexes in Dublin's Inner City where residents can take accredited and non-accredited courses in their own communities. This unique project involves local community activists and a range of industry partners and sponsors. In support of the national student charity, Students 10K, the first overseas Digital Community Project was opened earlier this month in an orphanage for young disabled people in Belarus. As an excellent example of student volunteerism DIT students raised over €40,000 this summer, on a sponsored cycle marathon in Belarus, to fund a hospice programme and a range of humanitarian projects.

For further information on the DIT Certificate in Volunteering click here or e-mail at volunteer@dit.ie.

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