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.


IT Sligo Graduates Host New Media Conference

Two IT Sligo graduates are bringing together some of Ireland’s most creative practitioners for the Rough Draft Design and New Media Conference in Sligo this Saturday (October 18th).

Paul McNama, a graduate in Industrial Design, and Shane Finan who studied Fine Art at the Institute, are organising the event.

Rough Draft is a day-long design and new media conference being held this Saturday in the chapel building of The Clarion Hotel, Sligo.

The inaugural event was held in November 2013 with a sell-out audience and an inspiring line-up. This year’s conference will feature ten speakers from the design and new media industry giving stories about their successes and failures in past projects.

Tickets are being sold online and are available via the booking link.

Key speakers have been selected from various design trades throughout Ireland. Attendance is limited to 230 people in total, and pre-booking is recommended.

The full list of speakers and  conference details are available on the Rough Draft website.

Rough Draft

Jobnet at IT Sligo

Jobnet is a programme designed to help job-seeking professionals or graduates to market themselves confidently and network effectively to find employment.

The Programme has been running successfully in Dublin for the last 10 years and is currently being rolled out to the regions.  The North West version of the programme will launch later this month with the support  of IT Sligo, CIPD and regional employers.

Following two open evenings held at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre and the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon the programme is now ready to commence on Friday 24th of October.

There are still a few remaining places for the six-week programme and will kick start recruitment of our first intake of 15 clients.  For more information, click here.



Science Week Is Coming! Nov 9-16th

Roll up, roll up, prepare to be amazed by Science Week 2014 at IT Sligo.

Science Week runs from November 9th to 16th. It kicks off with the annual Science Fair on Sunday 9th from 12-5pm. The event is open to the public and features a wide range of interactive displays and demonstrations for Children.

Throughout Science Week, the Institute will host a series of lectures on topics of public interest each evening at 7.30pm. Full details will appear here in the coming weeks.

The aim of Science Week is to promote the relevance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (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.

Science Week is Ireland’s biggest annual promotion of science to the general public. The week-long programme of events each November aims to make science more interesting and accessible to children and adults alike. Why not join in with Science Week 2014. For more information, visit the Science Week website, follow the Science Week Twitter account and enjoy the Facebook page.

IT Sligo Photo 2

Ben Kelly bracing himself for a bang during “Scientific Sue” McGrath’s ‘XTRA-Ordinary Science’ show at last year’s Science Fair in IT Sligo as part of national Science Week.


CoderDojo’s Global Rise Continues

The rapid expansion of CoderDojo, the global volunteer coding clubs for children, founded in Ireland in 2011, will continue next year with significant collaborations involving tech giants such as IBM and Microsoft

The organisation’s third annual conference at IT Sligo ended on Saturday with the announcements of exciting new partnerships – such as Barclays Bank planning to introduce CoderDojos through all 1500 of its UK branches – as part of its own ‘Digital Eagles’ initiative.

CoderDojo’s mission is to create a world where every child has the opportunity to learn code in a safe, social and collaborative environment.

Supported by the some of the world’s biggest tech companies and run by volunteer mentors and parents, CoderDojo now has more than 500 Dojos or clubs in more than 48 countries, reaching 25,000 children.

Speakers at DojoCon2014 in Sligo included CoderDojo co-founder and entrepreneur Bill Liao, Dave Shepherd, Head of Frontline Help at Barclays Bank, Debbie Forster of UK Apps for Good, CoderDojo CEO Mary Moloney and RTE ‘Science Squad’ presenter Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain.

“Coding is the fundamental value generator for nearly every company on earth. If you were to try and pay for the expertise that’s given freely to CoderDojo you’d go broke,” founder Bill Liao told Dojocon2014. 

“Openness is baked into CoderDojo – openness is the future,” he added.

The conference heard of CoderDojo’s massive recent growth – with over 500 Dojos now established all over the globe. Delegates attended from Belgium, the US, Britain and the Netherlands, and shared their own stories of establishing volunteer coding clubs for children in their own communities.

New CEO, Mary Moloney, formerly a senior executive with Accenture, got a warm welcome from delegates at the IT Sligo Knocknarea Arena. Her aim is continue the global focus of CoderDojo and create further collaborations.  

“It’s not only about coding, it’s about confidence, teamwork, knowledge sharing,” Moloney told delegates.

Microsoft, IBM, AutoDesk, MissionV and Barclays all made announcements in relation to new platforms and facilities they are making available for CoderDojos and the thousands of children who participate.  

These will give access to learning platforms, remote mentoring facilities and new bricks-and-mortar venues for dojos across the globe. Dave Shepherd of Barclays revealed how the bank’s 1500-strong branch network is to rollout Dojos for children across the UK from now.

CoderDojo also announced links to a number of high profile UK ‘coding in the community’ organisations like Apps for Good and Young Rewired State and plans are underway for some more formal collaboration in the coming year. .

In the Education stream, there was an invitation to dojos to participate in the European Week of Code from Nellie Kroes Irish Ambassador, Julie Cullen. Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin of UCD and RTE’s ‘Science Squad’ presented research on learning about algorithms and numbers.

CoderDojo was founded by James Whelton and Bill Liao. It started in James Whelton’s school in early 2011 when James (then 18) received publicity on hacking the iPod Nano and as a result some students expressed an interest in learning how to code.  He set up a computer club in his school (PBC Cork) and started teaching students basic HTML and CSS. Later that year he met Bill Liao who was interested in growing the project into something bigger


IT Sligo Lecturers Win Teaching Hero Awards

Two lecturers from IT Sligo have been recognised at the National Teaching Hero Awards ceremony in Dublin.

Paula Roddy, a lecturer in Recreation & Leisure, and  Fran O’Regan, who lectures mathematics to students undertaking a degree in Computing, were among 53 Teaching Heroes from 27 higher education institutions throughout Ireland to be recognised at a special awards ceremony in Dublin Castle.

Fran, who’s originally from Cork, was a surprised, but delighted recipient. “It’s an honour to receive the award ahead of so many excellent lecturers in IT Sligo,” he said. “I value the award as it’s student driven and I believe students are the best judges of a teacher’s effectiveness. I would like to thank the students for nominating me.”

The National Teaching Hero Awards were established by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and other student bodies to explore and celebrate students’ perspectives of great teaching throughout all higher education institutions.

Teaching Heroes were nominated by students and the 53 national award winners were selected by local student working groups which identified up to two teaching heroes from within their institution. The identification process used in each institution was informed by guidelines that focused on merit and learning impact.

The teaching hero award is the first of its kind in Higher education in Ireland. In the words of Prof Sarah Moore, Chair of the National Forum. “Outstanding teaching often happens quietly under the radar. With all our commitments to improvement and developing teaching and learning, these awards aim to shed more light on the kinds of teaching that students say they value most. This first iteration of the awards process showcases some great examples of teaching and will give rise to important conversations about students own perspectives on their learning.”

National Forum Patron Prof Mary McAleese pointed to the importance of awards such as these in recognising the deeper societal significance of excellent teaching. “Excellence in teaching is about much more than simply getting students through their exams,” she said. “It is about inspiration, passion, generosity of spirit, and a genuine desire to make a positive difference to students’ lives.”

Laura Harmon, USI President, said: “Like everyone in this room I have great teachers to be thankful for, this is a marvellous opportunity for students all around Ireland to put that thanks on the record.”

 A full list of the 2014 Teaching Heroes can be found by clicking on the following link:

Paula Roddy resized

Paula Roddy from IT Sligo receives hereTeaching Hero Award
from  National Forum Patron Professor Mary McAleese. 


Sligo Teaching Hero Mr Francis O'Regan and student Host Barry Scanlon of Sligo Institute of Technology

Barry Scanlon, student host from IT Sligo, with lecturer Fran O’Regan


Sligo Teaching Hero Ms Paula Roddy and Studen Host Ruth Cox from Institute of Technology Sligo

IT Sligo lecturer Paula Roddy & student host Ruth Cox 

Sports Tutors Share Knowledge At Coaching Forum

270 leading sports coaches and practitioners from across Ireland attended last weekend’s National Coaching Forum at IT Sligo.

The event, which was organised by Coaching Ireland & The Irish Sports Council, highlighted the importance of quality coaching in developing athletes and providing opportunities for participants of all ages and abilities.

The two-day Forum covered a range of topics – from coaching children holistically, to performance analysis, strength and conditioning and applying sports research into learning.

There were keynote addresses from a host of national and international sports practitioners including Ireland’s Olympic boxing coach Billy Walsh, who made an impressive presentation on developing high performance and the need for continuous improvement at the elite level.

The role coaching plays in children’s development was a key focus too.

International children’s coaching experts Sergio Lara Barcial from Spain and American academic Dr Melissa Parker, who’s currently based at the University of Limerick, both stressed the importance of ‘’getting it right in the early years’.

Other speakers included Peter Stanley of UK Athletics – a former coach to Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards.

“The Forum was a huge success for Coaching Ireland and the visiting delegates,” said Michael McGeehin, Director of Coaching Ireland. “The calibre of our speakers was matched by the level of engagement and enthusiasm during the various Q&A sessions from the delegates who attended.”

The programme also included a range of practical workshops.  The Kerry gaelic football fitness coach Dr Cian O’Neill delivered workshops on ‘The Principles of an effective warm-up.’ He revealed that Kerry’s level of preparation for their All-Ireland final success against Donegal included rehearsing the players shaking hands with their opponents before the pre-match parade.

There were also contributions from sports athletes such as Donegal gaelic footballer Karl Lacey and 16-year-old Youth Olympic boxing silver medallist Ciara Ginty from Geesala in County Mayo.

The Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council emphasised the importance of the National Coaching Forum. “Without our coaches, sport simply can’t function in this country,” he said. “They are central of development of our athletes at all levels. It’s vital that we invest time and effort in helping them develop as coaches – which is where an event such as this comes in.”

Roddy Gaynor IT Sligo, Deirdre Lavin Sligo Sports & Recreation Partnership, Michael McGeehin Director Coaching Ireland, Sergio Lara Bercial, Dr Melissa Parker and Richard Bailey at the 2014 National Coaching Forum at IT Sligo.


Martin McHugh Is New Sigerson Cup Manager

Former Donegal All-Ireland winner and current GAA pundit Martin McHugh is the new manager of the IT Sligo Sigerson Cup gaelic football team.

This will be the Kilcar man’s second spell in charge of the Sligo students. He previously guided IT Sligo to its first ever Sigerson Cup success in 2002.

“I’ve always had a deep interest in colleges football,” said Martin. ”I’m looking forward to helping IT Sligo continue its prominence as a centre for gaelic games in the north west.”

McHugh’s sons Mark and Ryan are both students at IT Sligo. Ryan was a member of the Donegal team which reached this year’s All-Ireland football final. His brother Mark took a break from intercounty football during the 2014 campaign.

The new appointment has been welcomed by IT Sligo’s Gaelic Games Promotion Officer Michael Harte. “We want to ensure the Institute remains a vibrant hub for gaelic games in the region,” he said. “We hope that his involvement will help us attract up and coming young footballers to IT Sligo.”

Martin begins work immediately. Trials for the 2015 IT Sligo Sigerson Cup panel begin this Monday (September 29th).

Martin McHugh24092014
IT Sligo’s new Sigerson Cup manager Martin McHugh


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