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Successful locals ‘willing to give something back'

December 11th, 2015 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Dee Forbes with principal Stephen Gilbert, left, and John Fitzgibbon of the ETB, right, at the awards night. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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WEST Cork is very fortunate to have such successful individuals who are wiling to ‘give something back’ to their own region, the Rossa College principal said recently.

Stephen Gilbert was speaking at the school’s annual QQI Post Leaving Certificate Awards for Further Education, which is a celebration of success for the ninety or so graduates who received certificates following completion of year-long courses last year. 

Graduates had excelled in areas such as healthcare; childcare; art, craft and design; art; horticulture; office administration and business. 

Mr Gilbert said the college was honoured to have Dee Forbes, managing director of Discovery Networks Northern Europe – the TV network giant – as guest speaker. The school also welcomed John Fitzgibbon, education officer with Cork ETB.  

Event co-ordinator Maire O’Sullivan opened the proceedings welcoming all guests, followed by Stephen Gilbert who congratulated the graduates and acknowledged the sacrifices they had made throughout their year of study. 

He commended them on their hard work and dedication and wished them well in the future. In welcoming Dee Forbes, he acknowledged her role in the Ludgate digital hub project.

He said the region was very fortunate to have successful individuals who were not only willing, but determined, to give something back to their home region.  The fact Dee had accepted an invitation to attend the awards was testament to her commitment to the region. He described her as a ‘grounded’ person who was family orientated and who had a great love for the West Cork region.      

Prior to presenting the certificates, she addressed the audience and acknowledged the importance of education. Ms Forbes congratulated graduates for having taken on and conquered the challenges they faced. She outlined her own education and explained that having got a job she worked very hard to learn about the industry she was in. She worked her way up through advertising company Rubicon and then moved to Turner Broadcasting. Six years ago, she took up the position of managing director of Discovery Networks. 

 Despite being based in London, Dee travels home to Glandore most weekends. She explained that this led her to realise the region was not as buoyant as it should be. 

Having discussed this with other like-minded individuals, a plan was put in place to put Skibbereen on the map. Broadband, or rather the lack of it, was identified as a key issue and the group set about changing this. 

Skibbereen has succeeded in getting broadband connectivity via Vodafone and the ESB joint venture via Siro, and Dee told the graduates that they were extremely fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and now this beautiful place has the ability to compete with any major centre across the globe.  

She also spoke proudly of National Digital Week which was held for the first time in Skibbereen recently.

Dee’s love for the region and her belief in it was clearly evident. All present left with a great sense of hope and anticipation, said Mr Gilbert.  

John Fitzgibbon joined Stephen and Dee in congratulating the students. He reiterated the commitment of Cork ETB to maintain post-Leaving Certificate education and training in Rossa College, after the opening of the new Skibbereen Community School.

  John acknowledged the work of people such as Dee Forbes and others in Ludgate who have succeeded in putting Skibbereen on the map.  He acknowledged that a lot of opportunities for co-operation between Ludgate and the college now existed, and that it was a very exciting time for the region. 

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