The SIPTU Community Campaign fights to defend vital jobs and services in the Community Sector.
The Community Sector has become a critical pillar in the provision of a range of vital services and programmes such as childcare, youth projects, community development, eldercare and training.
SIPTU members and activists have been leading the fight to protect jobs and services. If we are to defend our jobs, projects and communities we need to challenge the cut backs.
Friday, 14 September 2012
CORK ACADEMY STRIKES THE RIGHT NOTE FOR COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT!
Bob Seward and Noreen Keane
The transformational nature of
the Community Employment Scheme ran by the Cork Academy of Music only becomes
clear when you meet and talk to course participants.
Muireann ni Chonnaláin,Glen Kelly, Gerard O'Regan, and Bairbre Flood
Glenn Kelly had previously worked
in construction and was three years out of work, living back at home, and
receiving just €10 a week from social welfare. “I was long term unemployed, and
depressed. I’d lost everything.” In just one year Glen has qualified to Grade 5
of Music Theory with the Royal Academy of Music in London. He intends to
achieve grade 7 in the coming months and then move on to UCC to complete a
degree in Music.
Muireann ni Chonnaláin is another
who has radically altered her life through the scheme. “I was a single parent
struggling to find a way back into work. I grabbed this opportunity to study
and work full time with music and it’s been a brilliant experience” In just nine
months she has become an accomplished musician (piano)who has already achieved
Grade 5 qualification in Music Theory . She is busy composing her own songs and
looking forward to further education and a career in teaching and performing.
Gerard O’Regan is a fifty one
year old former laboratory worker who had been five years out of work before
joining the Academy. “CE has enabled me to reinvent myself through the training
and education on offer. My long term goal is to study for a degree in Music Therapy.
I used to drop my wife to work and then
go home for the day. Now I have a path forward into work and a career through
Bairbre Flood joined the course
last November and is studying music theory, guitar, drums and singing. Her progress
can be measured by the fact that her first album is now available on
bandcamp.com (and is well worth a listen!)
The Academy was established by
Bob Seward as a voluntary initiative in 1994 in recognition of the need for a
musical institute on the North side of city. It was set up to give marginalised
adults and young people the opportunity to learn music using this as a way to
encourage them to access further education and to improve their skills for
Staff member Noreen Keane explains
the philosophy of the Academy as “using music to engage participants in to the
process of learning. “An important aspect of this holistic approach is a focus
on training in personal and social skills which contribute to entry
requirements for third level education.
Over 700 people
have now graduated from this innovative CE scheme and most have gone to enjoy
paid employment and a career in the music industry. Dozens of students have
gone on to complete Degrees, Masters and even Ph. D’s thanks to the work of the
dedicated tutors and staff of the Academy. Reflecting on the achievements of
the last 18 years Bob Seward is in no doubt about the value of the training
provided through CE; “I believe the progress and progression pathways of our
students demonstrate the benefits of CE for adults in the community towards further
education as well as entry into the labour market.”
At a time when
funding for Community Employment schemes is under unprecedented pressure from
government cutbacks the Academy participants are determined to play their part
through SIPTU in promoting the importance of continued funding and support for Community
To this end, in conjunction with
SIPTU, they are organising a free public concert in the Triskel Arts Theatre on
4th October in Cork City Centre to showcase the talent and value
that this ground breaking CE scheme has delivered.
SIPTU Organiser Trevor Quinn
confirmed “Workers from the academy will be joined on the night by participants
from the Togher CE music project and the Cantabile Vocal Ensemble Choir, and will be supported
by CE workers from the Triskel Arts Centre in a unique collaboration to promote
the value of high quality Community Employment Training Projects in Cork City. All
local councillors and TD’s from the city and county will be invited and urged
to ensure their continued support for CE schemes in the city.” For more
information on the concert contact Trevor Quinn on 0872906803.