IT Sligo Drop-In ‘Roadshow’ Hits Town

Choosing a third level course and college can be daunting prospect for even the most committed students and parents, and IT Sligo is keen to help ease the challenge.

Institute of Technology Sligo is embarking on a “gown meets town” initiative that will take staff directly into the North West community to provide helpful answers and facts.

It is bringing a series of information “Roadshows” to major towns – Donegal, Castlebar and Cavan –  to give students, parents and teachers the opportunity of talking face-to-face with Institute staff in their local environment rather than having to travel to Sligo or  make contact by other means.

Each Roadshow is styled as a “drop-in” event and will last from 4pm to 7pm. The next will be in the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town, on Thursday, November 27.

Gordon Ryan, Head of Development and Business Operations, at IT Sligo, said: “Transitioning from secondary school to higher education is life-changing and making the right choice of course and where to study is crucial for employment prospects later in life. We’re hoping to lighten the burden, so to speak, by bringing IT Sligo into the region to help address the many questions which arise.”

Gerry Hegarty, Student Affairs Manager at IT Sligo, commented: “It’s a difficult and often confusing time for students and their parents. What we want to do is give people the time and space to come along and talk to academics and our admissions staff and to engage with them in making one of the big decisions of their lives.”

Staff will be on hand at each Roadshow to advise on a range of issues, for example grants and fees, degree courses on offer at IT Sligo, accommodation and sports facilities.

The remaining Roadshow dates and venues are:

November 27: Donegal Town, Abbey Hotel

December   4: Castlebar, TF Royal Hotel

December 11: Cavan, Cavan Crystal Hotel.

Roadshow image
Jubilant graduates who were among more than 1600 conferred at IT Sligo earlier this month


Virtual Careers Fair Opens For Jobseekers

Visit the Virtual Careers Fair here

Thousands of graduates and other job-seekers are expected to tap into a new tech-savvy way of finding career opportunities which was launched by the Connacht-Ulster Alliance on Monday.

The CU Alliance is a strategic partnership of three Institutes of Technology – Galway-Mayo, Letterkenny and Sligo – who are committed to achieving the criteria for designation as a Technological University.

They are holding an internet based “Virtual Careers Fair” which will provide “visitors” with real time fingertip access to “exhibitor” companies without even having to step outside home, college or workplace.

It is expected that up to 200 companies will register as exhibitors. The Fair runs until December 19.

The use of the technology was successfully pioneered by IT Sligo earlier this year. Subsequently, the CU Alliance decided on a joint event so as to expand its impact.

The Fair creates a “virtual city” with districts accommodating a range of industry sectors, including, science, technology, computing, business and engineering.

It is aimed at graduates, third-level students and other job seekers. Anyone anywhere can “enter the city” by using the internet.

Participation is free of charge to users and companies due to the project’s sponsorship by the recruitment and HR services company Collins McNicholas, which has offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo and Athlone.

Careers advisers from the Institutes were among those who attended the launch at the Castlebar campus of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

It was performed by Mr Niall Murray, general manager, Collins McNicholas, representing the companies taking part, and Mr Gordon Ryan, Head of Development, IT Sligo, representing the Institutes.

By using a mobile phone, tablet or other device, individuals can “walk around the city”, trawl the exhibitors’ virtual stands, arrange one-to-one webchat with company representatives, upload CVs, build networking personal profile and add audio or visual content.

It is an opportunity also for companies to interact with potential new recruits and assess the overall knowledge and personal qualities of people who are about to enter the jobs market.

Niall Murray said: “Collins McNicholas has a long association with the Institutes of Technology and we are delighted to sponsor this innovative project which harnesses the power of technology for job seeking graduates. Our regional offices in Galway and Sligo are fully committed to supporting this project which we hope will be an annual Flagship Event for the West.”

Gordon Ryan said: “We estimate that we’ll have around 200 companies taking part and we’re expecting about 10,000 unique visitors to the ‘virtual city’. This is an excellent example of collaboration by the Connacht-Ulster Alliance in providing graduates and job seekers in general with high quality information and valuable access to leading companies.”

Participant registration

Exhibitor registration

Full details are also available via

Virtual Careers Fair Launch

Pictured at the launch of the Virtual Careers Fair in Castlebar (L-R):
Fiona O’Donnell, GMIT; Michelle Murphy, Collins McNicholas, Galway; Antoinette O’Flaherty, Collins McNicholas, Sligo; Catherine Lyster, Letterkenny IT; Niall Murray, Collins McNicholas, Sligo; Gordon Ryan, IT Sligo; Brendan McCormack, Connacht-Ulster Alliance; Anne Marie McCormack, Connacht-Ulster Alliance; Deborah Seddon, IT Sligo; Michelle Kerins O’Brien, GMIT; Bridie Killoran, GMIT; Niall McEvoy, IT Sligo; and Adette Ring, IT Sligo.
Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.


Forecast Looks Good for ‘Science Week’

November 9th – 16th, 2014

RTÉ weather presenter Evelyn Cusack was the special guest at IT Sligo on Tuesday as part of Science Week 2014.

Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann but better known for her role as a weather presenter on RTÉ, Evelyn gave a special lunchtime lecture entitled “Ireland’s weather: a journey through time”. It also featured details of the latest high spec methods used by the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting.

Evelyn’s primary professional role is in communicating the expected weather to the Irish public, and that includes providing timely warnings of severe weather in order to help save lives and property both on land and at sea.

Evelyn’s talk took her audience through the climate ages.  ”From the very first atmosphere over four billion years ago when there was no oxygen, I wanted to show how lucky we are to exist at all on this unique planet and, in particular, what a benign climate we have in Ireland,” she said.

Another headline speaker in the lecture series was Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis who gave a midweek Wednesday dealt on “Accident, Suicide or Homicide”. Other lectures during the seven days of Science Week have included topics as diverse as seabed mapping, bird protection and Botox.

The aim of Science Week is to promote the relevance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in our everyday lives and to demonstrate their importance to the future development of Irish society and to the economy. Science Week is coordinated by SFI Discover, the education outreach programme of Science Foundation Ireland.

Dr Jerry Bird, Head of IT Sligo’s School of Science, said: “Science Week is always a great success and thanks to the voluntary efforts of our staff and students I’m sure it will excel again this year. It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people to experience up close the marvels of science. We always hope, too, that it will put many of them on the path to a career in Science, which is an area in which so many of our regional companies require graduates.

This year’s theme for National Science Week, sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland, is “The Power of Science”.

Sunday’s Family Open Day saw visitors stream through the Institute’s doors from 12 noon to 5pm to take part in fun displays  that illustrated the immense power of science in our day to day lives, for example in areas such as electricity, gravity, flight, waves, conservation and recycling.

National Science Week, which features events across the country, is Ireland’s largest annual promotion of science to the general public.

The  remaining lecture series schedule is:

Thursday 13th November 7.30pm Infomar: Mapping our Marine to Manage Our Future -Thomas Furey, Joint Infomar Programme Manager, Marine Institute

Friday 14th November 7.30pm The Reintroduction of Birds of Prey in Ireland - Lorcan O’Toole, Golden Eagle Trust and BirdWatch Ireland.


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Pictures from Sunday’s Family Open Day at IT Sligo. 



1600 New Graduates Conferred at IT Sligo

1631 new graduates have been conferred for 2014 at IT Sligo.

Families, friends and other guests joined in the celebrations at the Knocknarea Arena on Thursday and Friday last week as new Institute President Professor Vincent Cunnane presented parchments to the students marking the successful culmination of their years of intensive study, practical research and project work at the Institute.

Degrees were presented to students who undertook courses at the School of Business and Social Science, School of Engineering and Design and School of Science.

The awards, which include Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy as well as Postgraduate Diplomas and Higher Certificates, reflect the range of subjects taught in the Schools’ specialist teaching Departments and their wide variety of research areas.

Among the subjects covered in Thursday’s conferring sessions were awards in Electronic Engineering, Mechatronics, Quantity Surveying, Advanced Wood and Sustainability,  Interior Architecture, Forensic Investigation and Analysis, Biomedical Science, Pharmaceutical Science, Applied Archaeology, Creative Design, Fine Art, Performing Arts and Social Care Practice.

Friday’s ceremonies included Business awards in Accounting, Marketing in Event Management & PR, Applied Tourism, Recreation & Leisure and awards in Computing in Systems and Networks, Computing in Games Development.

play button small Recordings of the graduation webcasts will be available in the coming days

The annual Corn Sheáin Mhic Mhagnais award, established by former IT Sligo Chairman, the late Seán McManus, was awarded to Michael Moffatt, a Lecturer in Engineering.


Students Attend Launch Of Mary Robinson Centre

Students and staff from the School of Business and Social Sciences at IT Sligo attended the inaugural international Human Rights lecture at The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights introduced the guest speaker Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chairman of the Yunus Centre and founder of the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh.

The former President’s gift of The Robinson Archive to her home town of Ballina was warmly welcomed by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council.  Ireland’s first Presidential Library will be housed in the home she grew up in on the banks of the River Moy, with the incorporation of a purpose-built museum, research facility and events venue.

The aim of The Mary Robinson Centre is to foster and promote the study of themes, such as, Ireland’s role at international level, its links with the Irish Diaspora, empowering women in leadership at all levels and on a global scale, international human rights and climate justice.  It is supported by the Centres for Human Rights and Women’s Leadership at the National University of Ireland Galway and the Climate Justice Centre in Dublin.

The theme of the lecture was that ‘we can create a world without poverty, if we only want it’.  The lecture took place on ‘The International Day for the Eradication of World Poverty’ on the 17 October 2014 and coincided with the launch of The Mary Robinson Centre.

Professor Yunus spoke about the need for education systems in mainstream society to focus on the ‘social dividend’ as well as the ‘profit dividend’ and to begin engaging in social business education. This, he said would help enable ordinary people to attain greater benefits from their work and enterprise efforts.

Mary O’Keeffe a lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport found the talk very inspiring.  ” This concept could be introduced in third level education to complement modules like Not for Profit Marketing and Management and Community Development,” she said. “I believe it could introduced earlier in the educational system also, for example, in Transition Year where students are asked to investigate a social business in a community context.”

IT Sligo students on the four-year degree programme in BA in Social Care Practice and BA in Early Childhood Care and Education, study equality, social inclusion and Human Rights as an integral part of their programmes.

The degrees also incorporate a practical work based semester of 3 months in both year 2 and year 3 and placements have taken place in Ireland, Europe, South Africa, Ghana, Vietnam, Ethiopia, America and Canada.

Mary Robinson & Erin McLoughlin

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights and Erin McLoughlin a Social Care Practice student at IT Sligo at the launch of The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Samuel Adeyinka & Muhammad Yunus

Samuel Adeyinka Ayorinde a student of Social Care Practice at IT Sligo and Professor Muhammad Yunus the guest speaker Nobel Laureate and Chairman of the Yunus Centre and Founder of the Grameen Bank, Bangladesh at the launch of The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina.

staff and students

Dave Bruce, Lucy Guerin, Erin McLoughlin and Samuel Adeyinka Ayorinde students of Social Care Practice at IT Sligo with lecturer Marie McGloin, IT Sligo and St Angela’s College, NUI Galway.


IT Sligo MOOC Nominated in Excellence Awards

IT Sligo is in the running for a national award for a pioneering free online course known as a MOOC, which is attracting record numbers of students at home and abroad.

Engineers Ireland has shortlisted it in its prestigious Excellence Awards next month.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) teaches a process-improvement concept called Lean Sigma Quality which is especially applicable in industry, services and the public sector.

The nomination coincides with the Institute’s decision to run the MOOC for a second time due to high demand in Ireland and some 50 other countries. Registration closes on October 31st.

IT Sligo broke new ground with the MOOC last year. It is Ireland’s first Engineering MOOC.

This is the second year in a row that Engineers Ireland has nominated IT Sligo in the Engineering Education category of its annual awards.

IT Sligo’s “Online Labs” project, developed by staff at the School of Engineering & Design with the aid of EU-INTERREG funding, won Engineers Ireland “Best in Class 2013”.

The MOOC in Lean Sigma Quality is nominated in “Best in Class 2014”.

John Power, Engineers Ireland director general and chartered engineer, said: “Congratulations to IT Sligo for being nominated in this category for the second consecutive year. It shows a commitment from the Institute to provide programmes that serve the needs of both the student body and industry in an innovative and current format.”

Brian Coll, who jointly delivers the course with Dr John Donovan from the School of Engineering & Design, said: “The introductory week of this year’s MOOC is now under way but I would be confident that we’ll have around 2,000 signing up when registrations close on October 31st.”

The November 7th awards night will be memorable also for IT Sligo students Ruairi McGee, Anthony Mannion, Gary Lyons and Niall McHale as they will be presented with Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Award.

They won the prize in June for their prototype “Willow Harvester” which is designed for whole stem harvesting of biomass crops.

Mr Power said: “This group of students are an example of young Irish engineering talent in Ireland and I wish them the best of luck with their future careers.”

Brian Coll said: “We’re delighted to be on the shortlist. Feedback from last year’s students has been hugely positive. At the close of registration last January, we already had 500 wanting to pre-register for this year’s MOOC and by the start of September we had 1,800 signed up.

“We have a big representation from local industry as well as the multi-national sector and SMEs. We’re finding that it’s particularly popular with people in manufacturing and the healthcare sector.”

The MOOC represents a new operational dimension for the Institute’s Centre for Online Learning which provides some 40 internet-based courses to students across the world.

IT Sligo received a prestigious “Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award” in 2012 in recognition of its role in increasing access to higher education for part-time and distance learners  through online delivery

Brian Mulligan, Online Learning Programme Manager, said: “For IT Sligo to win Best in Class last year and be on the shortlist this year is validation of our determination to be continuously innovative.”

The MOOC in Lean Sigma Quality shows how productivity can be improved and costs reduced through new approaches to cutting wasteful processes such as needless duplication.

MOOCs originated in top American universities including Harvard, Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and have become a global phenomenon in internet-based learning.

They are short and require no formal course entry qualifications yet they provide high level personal professional development which participants and employers find beneficial.

Further information and registration details are available at


School of Engineering & Design lecturers Dr John Donovan and Brian Coll
who jointly deliver IT Sligo’s Ireland’s first Engineering MOOC.

IT Sligo Sports Scholar Wins National GAA Award

IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh was named Young Footballer of the Year for 2014 at the GAA/GPA awards ceremony in Dublin.

The 20-year-old Kilcar clubman scored two goals in a superb display against Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. And while Donegal’s All-Ireland final appearance against Kerry ultiimately ended in disappointment, McHugh’s contribution to his county’s run to the decider earned him widespread praise from GAA commentators.

Ryan, who is into his third year of study for a Bachelor of Business degree, is heavily involved in GAA at IT Sligo. He is a member of the Sigerson Cup team, which is currently being managed by his dad Martin. His elder brother Mark and cousin Eoin are also students at the Institute.

He produced “Man of the Match” performances against Dublin the All-Ireland semi-final in August and against Monaghan in the Ulster final the previous month.

Ryan McHugh with his UGAAWA July Merit Award
IT Sligo student Ryan McHugh
GAA/GPA Young Footballer of the Year 2014.

Students Have A Ball At IT Sligo Open Day

More than 1700 secondary school students visited the IT Sligo on Wednesday for Open Day 2014.

From Omagh to Castlerea, they came by the busload  to get a proper insight into what the Institute has to offer. There were workshops and exhibition stands spanning more than sixty degree and diploma programmes. These ranged from a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts to a Master of Arts in Leadership in Early Childhood Care and Education – the only Masters programme of its kind on the island of Ireland.

Kerry gaelic footballer Colm ‘The Gooch’ Cooper was also on campus for Open Day.  He was acting as Youth Ambassador for AIB. The bank officially opened its new student branch on campus this week.

Here’s a gallery of IT Sligo’s Open Day 2014:

Students Encouraged to ‘Mind Their Heads’

Former Armagh All-Ireland winning gaelic footballer Oisín McConville delivered a powerful talk to students of IT Sligo as part of the Institute’s Mental Health Day on Wednesday.

McConville, who lifted the Sam Maguire with the Orchard County in 2002, shared some very personal mental health experiences on and off the field of play.

The Crossmaglen native is one of the country’s most decorated footballers at both club and intercounty level. But during that illustrious 19-year playing career, McConville went through a turbulent period in his life off the pitch.

In his book ‘The Gambler’, McConville detailed how a gambling addiction took hold of him and threatened his life itself. He eventually dealt with his addiction, and is now a trained counsellor, specialising in CBT and suicide prevention.

“The more we take the stigma away from talking about mental health, the better people will feel about coming forward,” says the 39-year-old father of two.

“They realise there is help there and I think, to be honest, I always say there is an onus on us as sportspeople to lead from the front. With mental health issues, you do need to deal with them and deal with them properly, or else they will come back to haunt you.”

Mental Health Day is an initiative developed by the Student Counselling Service at IT Sligo with the aim of promoting, and raising awareness of the importance of mental health and general well-being. It’s estimated that at least one in five adults experience mental health issues at some time in their lives.

McConville had one key piece of advice for anybody who feels at rock bottom. “Find the courage to talk to ONE person.”

This event was  coordinated by Dr Siobhan McNally, counselling psychologist at the Institute’s Student Counselling Service in conjunction with IT Sligo Students Union (ITSSU).

“We were delighted that such an inspirational figure as Oisín, a talented and extremely successful athlete, came speak to our students about the challenges he has faced, and how he effectively coped with these challenges,” she said.

“The feedback from both students and staff who attended was extremely positive.”


Pictured (L-R) Cillín Folan – ITSSU , Oisín McConville, Stephen Doak – ITSSU President,
Helen Campbell – ITSSU, & Dr Siobhan McNally – Counselling Psychologist at IT Sligo.


IT Sligo Signals New Roads Direction

Government, county councils and IT Sligo have unveiled a joint initiative that will benefit the long-term quality and management of our roads.

Highly qualified engineers, consultants and contractors are responsible for the roads network, from the lay-out of footpaths to multi-lane motorways.

Now they will be offered the opportunity to improve their expertise by accessing latest research, developments and innovations.

IT Sligo in collaboration with the Local Authority Services National Training Group (LASTNG) has developed a programme comprising five key modules that will provide a significant upgrading of practitioners’ current knowledge of best practice nationally and internationally.

The new online part-time course, to be delivered by IT Sligo, is tailored to address current civil engineering skills shortages in the areas of road maintenance engineering and network management.

Completion of the course will lead to the conferral of a Post Graduate Certificate in Road Maintenance Engineering and Network Management (Level 9).

Local authority applicants will have 80% of their course fees funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and 20% by local authorities.

Individual or combined modules may be taken leading to the award of Post Graduate Certificates in the specialisms covered.

The modules are: network management and contracts; transportation planning; traffic control and safety; road pavement design and management; structural assessment and inspection; geotechnical engineering and drainage systems.

Participants must have a BSc (Hons) Civil Engineering or equivalent.

Mr Seamus Neely, CEO, Donegal Council, speaking at the signing of the collaboration agreement ahead of the expected validation of the new course, thanked all involved in the initiative.

He said: “This programme has developed as a result of a collaboration between the Institute of Technology Sligo and the LASNTG, and in particular the Roads Services Training Group, and I would like to congratulate all concerned with its development.

“I also thank the representatives of the Dept of Transport, Tourism and Sport who have agreed to contribute towards the course fees for Local Authority staff.

“I am confident that this is just the start of further collaborations between the LASNTG and IT Sligo and indeed I can identify areas in the water services and environmental areas for further expansion.”

Mr Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction at IT Sligo, said: “This new collaboration has significant potential and we are currently looking at developing progression options to Post Grad Diploma and Masters level in this area.”

LASNTG co-ordinates the delivery of comprehensive training to the best international standards for all staff involved in the provision of services in water supply, waste water, roads and the environment.

Roads Services Training Group (RSTG) was set up to meet the developing requirements of the Roads Services sector through the provision of new and existing courses at the Regional Training Centres.

LASNTG Launch Photo

(L-R) Dominic Mullaney, Principal Officer Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport; Tom Reilly, Head of Strategy IT Sligo; Seamus Neely, Chairman LASNTG and CEO Donegal County Council; Trevor McSharry, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Construction IT Sligo; Ciarán Hayes, CEO Sligo County Council.


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