Future uncertain after centre closes

Students and staff are facing an uncertain future after the forced closure of a Portlaois training centre because of cutbacks.

Students and staff are facing an uncertain future after the forced closure of a Portlaois training centre because of cutbacks.

Laois VEC confirmed this month that it was no longer sustainable to continue leasing the building that housed the St Canice’s Training centre with the result that the centre closed on July 6,

The closure was blamed on a lack of funding from the Department of Education and Skills, Laois VEC was given one month’s notice to the building’s owners, and AEO Joe Cunningham told this month’s meeting of Laois VEC, that all VEC equipement in the building will be moved to the new CBS building.

CEO Anne O’ Keefe told the meeting that efforts are continuing to reassign the staff from the centre.

“However it is becoming increasingly difficult to reassign within the scheme, to suitable posts at their own grade or at a similar grade for which the individual has the necessary skills, qualifications, and competencies”. Ms O’ Keefe added that there are approximately 150 staff members nationally requiring reassignments.

“Two staff have already been part redeployed, and one is yet to be redeployed but things are progressing”, Mr Cunningham said.

Councill

Cllr Willie Aird expressed his concern at the redeployment of staff. “I gave a commitment to people, where will they go if they’re not redeployed by September 1?”

But Ms O’Keefe said the issue has yet to be resolved.

“We don’t know yet, but it has to be relevant to their qualifications”, he was told by Ms O’ Keefe.

Cllr Kathleen O’Brien hoped people would not be hit. “Hopefully the students will take up positions in the other schools”.

Mr Cunningham told the meeting that Laois VEC is currently working with the students.

“We will keep working with them to provide courses, centre directors have spoken to them and we brought students to other centres. We will continue to do so”.

Cllr Mary Sweeney added that “it would be a shame if they didn’t continue after the great work done there”.