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New Chair and Vice Chair for Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board

It comes just a week after the local group hosted the national ETBI conference in Tullow

The local Education and Training Board has named its new Chair and Vice-Chair.

Elections this week resulted in Carlow councillors Fergal Browne and Andrea Dalton taking over from Kilkenny’s Cllr Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere as Chairperson and Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh as Vice-Chairperson.

KCETB employs 1,377 people and operates an annual budget of over €80million while enabling 15,000 annual learners to reach their potential by offering a series of education pathways in schools, colleges, training centres and community settings.

Including the management and operation of 13 post-primary schools, two colleges of further education and training, a range of adult and community education services across the two counties, the coordination of youth services and the promotion of music education through Music Generation.

Its board comprises 21 members; 12 from the local authorities with two staff, two parents, two local industry and three sectoral interest representatives.

Cllr Fergal Browne says of his new role “It is a great honour to be the first-ever Carlow person to hold the position of KCETB chairperson. I look forward to playing my part in this great organisation and, as we approach the tenth anniversary since KCETB was created following the merger of Carlow and Kilkenny VECs, we can be justifiably proud of how well education, training and youth work services are provided in both counties of Carlow and Kilkenny through KCETB.”

Cllr Peter ‘Chap’ Cleere commented, “It has been an absolute personal and professional privilege to work with a very special organisation such as KCETB and I feel incredibly proud to have worked with so many great people. I want to say a massive thank you to the KCETB family for their hard work, commitment, and unwavering support throughout my time as chairperson”.

He adds “When I became Chair in 2017, I could not have anticipated just how eventful the following years would be, or that we would experience the challenge of an extended Brexit, a global pandemic, and now war in Europe, together.  I call out the pandemic, in particular, because I was inspired by and proud of the way colleagues at KCETB came together during this time, supporting each other and our students every day as we lived through a particularly difficult period. In doing so, it truly brought our purpose and values to life”.

And he says “As I hand over to the new chairperson, Cllr Fergal Browne, I have great confidence in the support and dedication he will receive from all colleagues and the wider KCETB network.  I look forward to continuing to remain a proactive and committed board member over the coming years”, he concluded.

Speaking about the new appointments, KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis said, “I would like to congratulate Cllr Fergal Browne and Cllr Andrea Dalton on their election as chairperson and vice-chairperson of KCETB. We have just published our next five-year Strategy Statement and I look forward to working with them on the delivery of our key strategic priorities which will make a difference to the educational services that we provide for our students and our communities across Kilkenny and Carlow. I also extend my thanks and grateful appreciation to Cllr Peter Cleere who was an outstanding chairman for the last six years, and whose support for the work of our schools and centres was always positive and unflinching, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was a difficult time for students and staff in our schools and centres”.

Meanwhile, excitement’s building for KCETB with work imminent on the newest education campus in Kilkenny.

Last week the group hosted the national conference for the ETBI with close to 300 delegates from across the country attending the event at Mount Wolseley, Tullow for a range of workshops, discussions and keynote speeches, including from ministers Simon Harris and Norma Foley.

Kilkenny City Vocational School student Tariq Aziz meets Education Minister Norma Foley