A n aerial view of Killybegs
Pictured: Cormac Freeman, Uniform Supplier; Fintan Maloney, Chairman of LYIT Governing Body, Anne McHugh, CEO Donegal ETB; Dr Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin, Head of Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, LYIT Killybegs Campus, Paul Hannigan, President LYIT, Culinary Arts Students and Lecturers, Billy Bennett, Registrar LYIT, Cllr Niamh Kennedy Donegal County Council, Anne Marie Mulligan Food and Beverage Technician LYIT Killybegs.
LYIT Killybegs Campus has registered a record number of students on Culinary Arts programmes, primarily thanks to the Springboard initiative through the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The Springboard project for Hospitality and Culinary Arts provided 96 places nationally, with 38 places being allocated to date in Killybegs. The application, worth a total of €1.4M this academic year was co-ordinated by Dr Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin at LYIT Killybegs and includes partner institutions in Athlone, Galway, Tralee, Cork and Waterford.
In referencing the recent negative reports, Dr Ó hAnnracháin explains that while Killybegs may not be the most attractive location for traditional school leavers there are many non-traditional students who place a significant value on the reputation of the college, the extensive facilities and the experienced staff, and these students continue to apply to Killybegs for the Springboard and other advanced entry programmes in record numbers.
Applications through the CAO have fallen off nationally for hospitality, tourism and culinary arts programmes in recent years and this has had a significant impact on the student body in Killybegs, but this shortfall has been replaced by students returning to college as career changers and by professionals in the industry who wish to upskill.
LYIT Killybegs was the first college in the country to offer a BA (Hons) in Culinary Arts, and continues to offer Higher Certificates, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Culinary Arts. Students on these programmes have excellent opportunities to study and work overseas as part of their education. LYIT Killybegs is also the only college in the country to offer elective streams in Kitchen and Larder or Bakery and Pastry, recently investing heavily in a new bakery kitchen, which allows students to specialise to the highest international standards.