Archive for July, 2014


Alphabund – German Interest in Skills for Work

Mr Tony Dalton (AEO) LO ETB,   SFW Co-ordinators and German Study Visitors Dr. Nicole Lederle and Mandy Böttger at Laois/Offaly ETB

Mr Tony Dalton (AEO) LO ETB, SFW Co-ordinators and German Study Visitors Dr. Nicole Lederle and Mandy Böttger at Laois/Offaly ETB

In response to the findings of the LEO. – Level One Study the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Standing Conference) initiated an Agreement for a joint National Strategy for Literacy and Adult Basic Skills in Germany in 2012.

To support this initiative Dr. Nicole Lederle and her colleague Mandy Böttger came to Ireland to draw on the experiences of a number of organisations involved in adult and literacy interventions including workplace educational programmes.  The study visit also included meeting with other key players such as NALA, DES, SOLAS, ETBs and the QQI.

Skills for Work hosted two sessions which provided information from both a rural and urban perspective with regards to promoting adult education opportunities within the community and the workplace.

Laois Offaly ETB was the venue for the morning session which included presentation from SFW Regional Co-ordinators; Lillian Buckley, (South West), Mary Hennessy, (Mid West), Marian O’Reilly, (Midlands), Mr Tony Dalton, (AEO,) LOETB, Longford Westmeath ETB Adult Literacy Service, and Brian Donnelly, (Community Education Officer), Tipperary ETB.

The afternoon session was hosted by City of Dublin ETB. Contributions to the information exchange focused on the benefits of SFW partnerships with employers and Trade Unions.  Representatives included Joanne Brown, (ICTU), Deborah Kearns (Swissport International), SFW Regional Co-ordinators; Patrice Hamilton, (DDLETB) and Margaret Timoney, (North West).

More information on Alphabund can be found on

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Success Story for SFW and Tipp Distribution

Tipp Distribution is a registered and licenced haulage company for both national and international distribution. It is located in O’Brien Street in Tipperary town and currently employs 14 permanent local staff and one part time staff member. The main business of the company is the distribution of soft drinks throughout the Munster region for a well know drinks manufacturer.  The company recently became a regional partner to Masterlink Logistics.

Tipp Distribution has an unusual history.  The current managers are former employees of Kiely’s Distribution which went out of business in 2011. When Kiely’s closed the employees had two choices; become unemployed or invest in it themselves to keep the company going.  Three former employees took on the challenging role of running and managing the company and so in June 2011 Tipp Distribution was founded. 

While the staff had great knowledge and experience of the distribution business, they realised that they needed to increase their computer literacy in order to maintain a competitive edge and compete for business in the marketplace.  The team at Tipp Distribution pride themselves on being loyal, flexible and adaptable in their skills and abilities.

Michael Toomey Senior, the Business Development, Distribution and Logistics Manager, saw a flyer for Skills for Work and contacted Tipperary ETB’s Adult Learning Scheme.  Soon after, a group from the company joined Skills for Work basic IT programme with the Adult Learning Centre in Tipperary Town. The course was a huge success and two further programmes were offered to the workers. Through the Skills for Work programme the workers acquired skills in emailing, Internet, Excel and Word Processing which gave them the confidence to advance the company’s business in the labour market.

Some of the SFW participants from Tipp Distribution

Some of the SFW participants from Tipp Distribution

These new skills proved a huge bonus with the workers when their company tendered successfully for a major distribution contract. One of the stipulations of the contract was that the workers were expected to be competent in using hand held computer devices when out and about on company business.  It is a tribute to the experience and commitment of the staff that the company is not only still going strong but is currently recruiting new staff to join the workforce.

Upskilling of the labour force is part of the National Skills Strategy and the story of Tipp Distribution demonstrates the benefits for workers availing of educational opportunities in their local area.  The OECD’s International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), 2012 highlighted the need across the OECD to upskill in the area of problem solving in technology rich environments.  Again, Skills for Work has had a very strong and positive role in supporting this initiative in Tipperary town.

We wish Tipp Distribution long and continued success in their business.


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