Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris has launched a three-year HEA funded project between South East Technological University’s Lifelong Learning (SETU) and Tiglin addiction treatment centres for delivery of higher education courses to service users impacted by homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction.
Living examples of the empowering effects of education on peoples lives are Allen and Jay Bobiniac. Twin brothers who arrived in Ireland in 2015 “in search of a better life”. Coming from a small island in Croatia, Allen shared that “the environment I was part of was one of inequality and a lifetime of struggle lay ahead for me. I knew I had to do something, so I left Croatia and arrived in Ireland. I soon found myself on the streets of Dublin alone and unsure where to turn. Sleeping alone in the park at Merrion Square and living off a very meagre budget I eventually got a job in Keelings”. With his first €50, Allen bought a plane ticket for his twin brother to join him in Dublin and start a new life. Today, this new life has been recognised as both brothers received a special achievement award presented by Minister Harris and the Croation Ambassador to Ireland Davor Vidis.
The launch of the project which will run from January 2023 for three years, follows a successful application by South East Technological University’s Lifelong Learning to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) resulting in an award of €833,333 for the project delivery.
Professor Veronica Campbell, President of SETU expressed thanks to the HEA for their recognition of the importance of the project in providing non-traditional learners with access to higher education courses which will enhance their recovery and potential for further study and employment.
Tiglin Chairman and co-founder, Aubrey McCarthy, commended the project as in keeping with the whole of person approach adopted by Tiglin. Jay and Allen are examples of people who we have proven that education is one of the most powerful weapons which you can use to change the world. Tiglin are using education as one of the means to ‘level the ground’ and create equality for those who have not had a smooth experience with education.
Tiglin now operate multiple treatment and aftercare centres for men and women across Wicklow and Kildare.
Lifelong Learning at SETU’s Carlow Campus has collaborated with Tiglin since 2016 in provision of progressive activities to compliment Tiglin’s holistic approach and to help find a sustainable solution for re-engagement of service users with society.
According to Dr Joseph Collins, Head of Lifelong Learning at SETU’s Carlow Campus “this project is about people. As educators we need to think creatively around social justice and how we as education providers can nurture the full participation of all people in society. Through this project we hope to provide people, who for varied reason may have found it difficult to access or participate in higher education until now, an opportunity to do so.”
The event coincided with a ceremony with the “opening of the Granary” at which Minister Harris also presented students from Tiglin with certificates for completion of higher education courses with South East Technological University. Dr Collins concluded by congratulating all awardees for successful completion of their courses and their families who supported them along their journey of learning.