2 April was a Sunday with a difference at GAA headquarters, as South East Technological University (SETU) celebrated its first graduation ceremony in Croke Park. GAA officials including Tom Ryan, Director General of the GAA and Paddy Flood, Chairperson GAA Officer Development Committee, were joined by Prof Veronica Campbell, President of SETU, David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at SETU and members of SETU’s academic staff to acknowledge the achievements of the volunteer group of GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association graduates who were recipients of SETU’s Certificate in Facilitation, Mentoring and Development and Certificate in Event Controlling.
Prof Veronica Campbell, SETU President attended the graduation and praised the distinctive contribution the GAA bring to Irish society, “The GAA is a unique institution in the sporting and cultural life of Ireland. From its inception, its contribution to Irish society has extended beyond the promotion of sport to offering a source of community, friendship, development and learning in villages, towns and cities across Ireland. And true to form, the GAA has yet again proven itself to be a forerunner in setting standards and developing skills to enhance the lives and experiences of the communities it serves and in doing so future proof the organisation in an ever changing environment.”
Working with the team at SETU, the Gaelic Games associations designed, developed and delivered these two certificate programmes to its members across the country. The two programmes were conceived to develop, grow and safeguard Gaelic Games communities and their volunteers around Ireland. In doing so, the qualifications also provide a formal, recognised qualification for volunteers to use for their own professional development. The creation of these courses acknowledges the valuable work carried out by volunteers across the country.
The Certificate in Facilitation, Mentoring and Development was developed to give volunteers at club and county level a deeper knowledge of coaching and mentoring, providing them with the tools to enhance and reflect upon their practice as part of a structured community where ideas are shared to advance county and club strategy. Dr Gina Noonan, Head of Centre for Teaching and Learning at SETU’s campus in Carlow, David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at SETU, Ruairi Harvey, Jack McCarney and Aaron Douglas from the Organisational Development Unit in Croke Park all worked together on this programme and were delighted to attend the ceremony to celebrate the first graduates of the course.
Mattie Kilroy, a graduate of the Certificate in Facilitation, Mentoring and Development was very positive about the knowledge he gained on this course, “I have had a long association with the GAA as an administrator at club, county, provincial level and indeed national level. I have attended many seminars, webinars and meetings where I have gained advice, skills and understanding. While studying on the ‘Facilitation, Mentoring and Development’, I refreshed and updated so many skills and feel I have been enriched by the experience.
“I am involved in club planning as a facilitator with clubs which draw up three to five year strategy plans for their club's development. I have also engaged with clubs who were experiencing difficulties and helped to facilitate meetings which have helped to iron out their difficulties.”
2023 saw the sixth iteration of SETU’s highly successful Certificate in Event Controlling programme. The course is leading the way in training in this space in Ireland, setting national standards in the comprehensive range of skills required to run large scale events for the public. The course focuses on areas such as risk assessment, communications, group behaviour, record keeping and contingency planning. The development of this course was led by Anne Meaney, Head of Extended Campus at SETU, David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at SETU and the team from GAA stadium operations and the National Facilities and Health and Safety committee.
Tom Ryan, Director General of the GAA welcomed the collaboration, “Within the GAA, the volunteers are the heartbeat of the Association. Without them, we simply would not be able to function. The opportunity provided by SETU in conjunction with the Officer Development Committee to upskill and educate our volunteers was a fantastic initiative. Not only was it possible to gain a recognised, accredited qualification from one of the country’s leading third level institutions but the skills that were developed for both personal and professional development are a key takeaway from this programme.”
I would like to thank those involved from SETU and the Officer Development Committee for the coordination of this programme. To the graduates, many congratulations on your achievement and we hope the skills you developed will assist you in your personal life but also any activities that you may undertake within the Association. The programme was a great success to all involved and it is something that hopefully will continue for future years, to continue the growing relationship with the GAA and SETU.”
Pictured at South East Technological University’s first conferring ceremony in Croke Park were GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association graduates of the Certificate in Facilitation, Mentoring and Development and the Certificate in Event Controlling with Prof Veronica Campbell, President of SETU, Tom Ryan, Director General of the GAA, Paddy Flood, Chairperson GAA Club Officer Development, David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at SETU, Anne Meaney, Head of Extended Campus at SETU, Dr Gina Noonan, Head of Teaching and Learning at SETU's Carlow campus, and Jack McCarney from the Organisational Development Unit in Croke Park.