Athlone conference to look at migrants and higher education

A conference on the experience of ethnic minority workers in accessing higher education and training will be held in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone next Thursday, December 4.

A major report which explores these issues will be launched at the day-long symposium. The publication brings together the work conducted through an extensive series of focus group studies with migrants in various regions of Ireland. More than 160 migrants from 20 different countries were included in the research.

The conference and the report are part of an initiative funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund, which involved representatives from several Irish third level institutions: Athlone Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and University College Cork.

John Cusack, a member of the working group that conducted the research, said that “Irish society has changed dramatically over the past decade. Our schools, colleges, sports clubs, and work places feature a dynamic mix of cultural and racial diversity that brings bountiful opportunities and challenges.

“This symposium offers the opportunity to hear at first hand the voices of ethnic minority workers in Ireland. Speakers will focus on education and training, policy issues, as well as on the experiences of industry. We anticipate that it will provide a forum for learning and understanding, so that positive action for change can be undertaken by the various stakeholders to the betterment of all,” he said.

Speakers at the conference include representatives of the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Hotels Federation, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, the Migrants Right Centre, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, as well as speakers from the contributing higher education institutions.

Further information about the conference is available on the Education in Employment website,, or from Esther Cuffe at [email protected]. The symposium fee is €50 or €100 to include a pre-conference dinner on Wednesday evening, at which the guest speaker is Rotimi Adebari, former Lord Mayor of Portlaoise.


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