Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Hospitality Education and Training Centre has become the first centre in the Republic of Ireland to be awarded with a consecutive European Framework for Quality Management (EFQM) Centre of Excellence Award.
Based at Limerick Enterprise Development Park and operated by the ETB’s Further Education and Training Division, the centre at Roxboro is dedicated to providing the highest level of culinary and hospitality training. It has built strong relationships within the Irish hospitality industry since its inception and links its learners directly with employment opportunities.
The coveted EFQM award is granted to Europe’s best performing organisations, following an in-depth audit of an organisation’s business processes and procedures. The Hospitality Education and Training Centre underwent a rigorous assessment to benchmark its performance against EFQM principles. One of the factors highlighted in the assessment was the unique partnerships and collaborations that have been established by the centre with hospitality industry employers. It became the first recipient in the 26 counties of the EFQM Centre of Excellence Award in 2016.
Commenting on the achievement, Bernadette Enright, Centre Manager, said: “Achieving this award for a second time acknowledges the centre’s continuing commitment to the highest level of success, as it engages with its learners, staff, industry and education partners, as well as government agencies and the local authority.” She continued: “Our centre is unique in that it delivers skills training directed at finding future employment within the hospitality industry specifically.
I would like to thank Paul Patton, our Director of Further Education and Training, for his unwavering support of the centre over the last number of years. I also wish to acknowledge the support and friendship of Michael Fitzgerald and his contribution to the centre. This is an incredible achievement made possible only through the tremendous professionalism and enthusiasm all our staff bring to the centre every day. It’s great to see them rewarded today and I am very proud of them all.”
The Hospitality Education and Training Centre provides a variety of hospitality-focused Further Education and Training at its campus; ranging from entry-level to advanced, with the duration of training varying from 3 months to 2 years. The training offered includes both full-time and part-time, with awards ranging from Levels 4 to 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications, as well as a new Level 9 partnership with University of Limerick. It has seen hundreds of graduates pass through its doors keen to pursue a career in a variety of exciting roles in the hospitality industry including Chef, Front-of-House, Management, Bar Operations, Barista and much more.
Following today’s announcement, George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, said: “The Hospitality Education and Training Centre is a real example of what can be achieved through the effective partnership between Further Education and Training and industry partners. The EFQM award is an acknowledgement of this partnership and the real beneficiaries are those learners who have successfully progressed to employment or further training. The EFQM award is an acknowledgement of the exceptional work that is being carried out at the HETC and the standards that are there.”
The independent assessment of the centre by the EFQM commented on the overall management and professionalism of the centre, not only in the preparation of trainees for jobs and careers in hospitality, but also the level of engagement with employers and industry stakeholders.
Dr Tony Lenehan, Executive Director, EFQM Ireland, said: “The EFQM Award to the Hospitality Education and Training Centre in Limerick recognises the professionalism of the centre in fulfilling its remit but also provides a valuable benchmark for other hospitality training centres around the country as they prepare individuals for valuable employment opportunities in the hospitality sector in their respective regions. The benefits of accreditation are substantial as it provides an international symbol and benchmark of operational excellence for the centre.”
The announcement has also been widely welcomed by the centre’s industry stakeholders. Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, President, Irish Hotels Federation, said: “Our members have benefitted hugely from the Hospitality Education and Training Centre in Roxboro. When you employ a quality recruitment process and quality training, the resultant quality graduates ensure service excellence in the Shannon Region’s hotels. As a federation, we are proud to support the centre and look forward to developing further the relationship between the region’s hotels and the centre. Congratulations to all involved. It is a great model that should be replicated throughout the country.”
Dermot Kelly, Executive General Manager, Great National South Court Hotel, and Chairperson, Irish Hotels Federation, Shannon Branch, said: “We wish to acknowledge all the good work that the Hospitality Education and Training Centre is providing to the wider tourism industry in terms of training and employee development. We look forward to further collaboration with the ETB over the coming months and years.”