Simon Harris Supports KWETB in Drive to Boost Irish Employment

Thursday, July 29, 2021. 3:05pm
Simon Harris

Minister Simon Harris supports KWETB in drive to boost employment across Ireland

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is launching two initiatives being delivered by Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) to help meet employer demands in the hospitality, tourism and catering industry in Ireland.

The two training initiatives, developed in partnership with The Talbot Collection and Bretzel Bakery, are funded through ‘Skills to Advance’, a national initiative providing upskilling opportunities for employees to progress in their careers, and ‘Skills to Compete’, a traineeship that helps the unemployed and career changers gain the skills needed for the workplace.

They offer a work-based model and successful participants, who should be aged 18+, will have the opportunity for employment within the participating organisations, with the Talbot Collection offering a two-year employment contract and the opportunity for further education and training through an apprenticeship.

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said: “I’m delighted to be lending my support to KWETB and these initiatives. They are an exciting opportunity for anyone looking to develop new skills and further their career.

“The hospitality, tourism, and catering industry is essential to the Irish economy, and unfortunately, it is also a sector that has been so heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With this in mind, I welcome these training programmes, which are the next phase in a drive to boost the hospitality, tourism, and catering workforce, and I look forward to hearing about the success of the future candidates on the programmes.”

Eileen Cullen, Training and Innovation Services Manager, from KWETB said: “KWETB is at the forefront educating and training workforces across all sectors, however hospitality and tourism are very close to our hearts. Earlier this year we launched a very successful programme upskilling existing hospitality talent and now this new initiative creates opportunities for those new to industry, offering on-the-job learning and the opportunity for employment upon completion.”

“It’s been a very difficult year for the industry and we are thrilled to be able to launch these two initiatives today, with the support of Minister Harris, and in partnership with The Talbot Collection and Bretzel Bakery, which aim to grow a workforce heavily depleted during the pandemic. Anyone interested in applying for this fantastic opportunity can contact us at [email protected] for more info. You never know what the future may hold!”

The Talbot Collection’s ‘Chef Development Programme’, delivered by KWETB, will see 20 successful applicants take part in a 12-week training course in the state-of-the-art training facilities at Marine House, The Murrough, Wicklow Town and Bray Institute of Further Education.

Candidates will be accommodated in the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, for the duration of the program and will receive a City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Culinary Skills plus will be offered a two-year contract of employment with the Talbot Collection upon completion at one of their six locations across Ireland.

Philip F. Gavin, Group Managing Director of The Talbot Collection commented on the initiative: “We are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the KWETB and have Minister Harris launch our Talbot Collection Chef Development Programme. This represents a significant investment for the Collection.

“It is widely accepted that there is a shortage of professional chefs nationwide. Never has it been more important to invest in our future, for the future. We are very excited to offer this unique and fantastic opportunity to cooking enthusiasts in our communities who wish to pursue a prosperous career as a professional chef.”

Simon Harris

The Bretzel Bakery ‘Artisan Bakery Traineeship’ will offer 12-16 successful applicants the chance to learn on the job and capture the basics of professional artisan baking through a 24 week training course. The traineeship will take place in Kilcullen, Co Kildare and will see the applicants develop work-based skills in Bretzel’s state-of-the-art bakery school.

Mateusz Piwowarczyk, Production Manager for Bretzel Bakery, is a great supporter of the traineeship and said: “I took a job as a baker but it was the influence of a great teacher that made me want to be a gold medal winning Baker. Bretzel Bakery and KWETB could be the teacher that makes the difference for you!”

Both programmes are open to applicants from all over Ireland.

For more information on KWETB or to learn about the two training initiatives contact [email protected].

More information on the Talbot Collection Chef Development Programme can be found directly at

More information on the Bretzel Artisan Bakery Course can be found directly at

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