Kerry Education and Training Board (Kerry ETB) and University College Cork (UCC) today (Monday 22nd July) signed an agreement that will see both institutions working together to enhance opportunities for and engagement in outdoor education and training at Cappanalea, The National Centre for Outdoor Education and Training (NCOET), which is based at Oulagh West, Caragh Lake, Killorglin, Co. Kerry.
The Centre, with accommodation for 50 people is located on 57 acres on the side of Caragh Lake, with access to 120 more acres of wilderness and the wider beautiful countryside around the Centre, including the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Killarney National Park.
Speaking at the signing of the agreement, Mr. Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, complimented both Kerry ETB and UCC on their collaboration to promote Outdoor Education and Training and enhancing outdoor education and training opportunities.
“This is a very important day, not only for the two educational institutions involved (Kerry ETB and UCC), but for everybody interested in the outdoors and the huge role that outdoor activities can play in education and, more generally, in society.”
Minister Griffin went on to say:
“Earlier this year, I invited Kerry ETB and UCC to meet with me and officials to update me on discussions that had been underway between both bodies to explore the possibility of having greater collaboration between UCC and Kerry ETB, through leveraging the magnificent Centre for Outdoor Education and Training at Cappanalea and Killarney National Park Education Centre. “
“I am delighted to be present here today to see those discussions coming to fruition and to see Mr. Colm McEvoy, Chief Executive of Kerry ETB and Professor John O’Halloran, Deputy President and Registrar of University College Cork, signing this agreement between their respective institutions. The agreement is a commitment to work closely together in the future and to develop Cappanalea, The National Centre for Outdoor Education and Training (NCOET) into a hugely successful national and, indeed, international centre”.
“At a time when outdoor activities and sports are seeing an enormous increase in participation (upwards of 25% per annum), it is important that we provide suitable education and training for our young people (and others) who wish to learn about the outdoors. I would hope that they might feel confident that they can partake in outdoor education and training activities both safely and enjoyably.”
“It is also a great opportunity to expand our tourism based on outdoor activities. We have seen the success of the Wild Atlantic Way and, more recently, Ireland’s Hidden Heartland (in the Midlands). In essence, these two tourism products are about the outdoors, the environment and people wishing to engage with nature and outdoor activities. We now need to educate more people so that they can appreciate the wide range of opportunities that are in the outdoors.”
“This agreement brings together the superb facilities and instructors in Kerry ETB’s Centre at Cappanalea with the various Departments in UCC that have a particular interest in the area of outdoor education and training. This includes the Sports Department, that covers all the clubs in UCC, together with all the other 23,000 students and 3,000 staff who may not partake in regular club activities but who may like to avail of some of the outdoor activities.”
“It also includes the School of Education – where future teachers (including physical education teachers) are educated and where research is also undertaken into education. With the new changes to the second-level educational curriculum, this development is very timely and will help ensure that the correct skills will be available to implement the curriculum.”
“The Centre will provide opportunities for those interested in outdoor activities to increase their level of competence in the activities while also, over time, providing opportunities for existing outdoor education instructors and others to undertake postgraduate studies in Outdoor Education. This will help raise the educational standards of outdoor education and training in Ireland and will help provide people to support the growing outdoor activities market, including making Ireland a ‘go-to’ place for outdoor activities and nature.”
Prof John O’Halloran, Deputy President and Registrar, UCC, stated “UCC has one of the highest rates of student participation in sports clubs among Irish universities. This agreement is a natural extension, combining our passion for activity and our sporting knowledge with Cappanlea. We wish to thank Minister Griffin and Kerry ETB for their work on this agreement, for we believe this is will be a superb partnership for our students, the community and the local economy.”
Thanking the Minister for State Brendan Griffin and the other visitors, for taking the time to attend in Cappanalea, CEO of Kerry ETB, Colm McEvoy went on to say:
“Kerry ETB is very proud of what has been achieved in Cappanalea over the years and I would like to pay tribute to Donal Dowd, his team and the Board of Management for developing the Centre into what it is today. With the engagement of UCC, through the agreement signed today, Cappanalea, The National Centre for Outdoor Education and Training (NCOET) enters a new and exciting chapter in its development. We have high expectations for the Centre and I am delighted that UCC has agreed to work with us on this. We believe that this National Centre will become an international exemplar of what is possible in outdoor education and training.”
Cllr. Jim Finucane, An Cathaoirleach of Kerry ETB stated “the signing of the MoU with UCC is a welcome development for Kerry ETB. The ETB places great emphasis on the holistic development of its students and learners by providing quality physical education in all levels as set out in the goals in the Education and Training Strategy 2018-2022.
This MoU with UCC provides a framework for the continued development of the centre and enhancing the partnership with Kerry ETB and UCC.”