Pictured at the Failte Ireland Learning Network Programme in the Court Hotel, Tullamore were: (L-R) Amanda Horan, Manager, Enterprise Development at Fáilte Ireland; Jeremy Emmet-Booth, Knockelly Castle, Co. Tipperary; Barry Leonard, Foxglove Farm Co. Westmeath; Gayle Tarmey, The Sustainable Food & Wellbeing Academy, Co. Galway; Rasa McMahon, Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Co. Laois; Geraldine Colleran, RHSI Bellefield House & Gardens, Co. Offaly; John O’Driscoll, Irish Heritage Trust, Co. Roscommon; Aoife McTernan, Clonfert Farm, Co. Kildare; Brendan Flannagen, Ethical Tours, Co. Longford; Helena Stromberg, Senior Staff Officer, Communications Coordinator for EU Just Transition Fund in Ireland, Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly

New programme to support tourism jobs in Midlands gets underway

A new programme which is designed to support the development of enterprises and jobs in tourism across the Midlands has welcomed its first intake of tourism businesses.

The Failte Ireland Tourism Learning Network Programme got underway this week in the Court Hotel in Tullamore with a vision is to establish the Midlands as an authentic regenerative tourism destination. Co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union, this new programme is designed to build tourism business’ capabilities to help grow and future proof their sustainable development as part of the EU Just Transition Fund.

Participants on the programme were invited to Tullamore Court Hotel to network with other tourism businesses, learn more about the new Tourism Learning Network Programme and gain insights from industry experts. The event also included two introductory courses on Accessibility and Sustainability, along with a panel discussion featuring guest speakers with first-hand experience in access and inclusion

Director of Regional Development at Fáilte Ireland, Paul Keeley, said the new programme is one of six schemes to be run by Fáilte Ireland as part of their Regenerative Tourism and Placemaking Scheme.

He added that the Tourism Learning Network Programme "will help businesses within the EU Just Transition territory to develop essential skills and practices across planning, digital, sustainability and accessibility while enhancing the visitor experience across the region. This is the first intake for this programme, and we look forward to welcoming many more participants over the course of the next 2 years.”

The programme provides a unique opportunity for participants to benefit from a fully-funded programme of tailored professional development supports that enhances their tourism skillsets and supports the transition from employment in the peat or electricity production to a career in the tourism industry.

Participants in the programme come from across all 8 counties in the EU JTF territory, from a diverse range of sectors including accommodation providers, tours, visitor attractions, activity providers, public bodies and previous employees of ESB Networks and Bord na Móna planning a new career in tourism. They will participate in the programme for 2 years and will select a tailored learning pathway suited to their individual needs across the 5 key learning pillars: Understanding Tourism, Business Planning for Growth, Digital and Technology, Access and Inclusion, and Sustainability. Upon programme completion, participants will have the opportunity to be awarded certification and connected to further Fáilte Ireland Business Supports.

Co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union, the EU Just Transition Programme supports regions that are impacted by the transition away from peat production. Fáilte Ireland developed the EU Just Transition Learning Network Programme to help maximise the benefit of the EU Just Transition scheme for tourism businesses, employees, visitors, and the wider region.

Expressions of Interest for the Tourism Learning Network Programme are expected to open again in Autumn 2024. Find more information on the programme here.