Dr. Frank McMahon speaking with graduates of the CPD Programme in Social Care for Older People

The first graduates of a new programme in social care for older people received their awards last week at a ceremony in DIT Mountjoy Square. The Continuing Professional Development award was conferred on 20 students on the course, which was devised by the Department of Social Sciences. The participants in this first cohort were all professionals in the health care sector, including nurses, care assistants and day-care organisers.

Drawing on the research taking place in DIT Social Sciences on ageing, this innovative course was designed following fieldwork and the establishment of an Advisory Group that is representative of the sector. Carmel Gallagher, who developed the course with colleagues Phil Keogh, Kevin Lalor and Fidelma Norton, said: "There is a growing awareness of the importance of developing purposive activities and fostering a sociable and normal environment in care settings for older people. We developed this course because of our perception that there was a need for professional training for staff assigned to developing such activities." According to Ms Gallagher, the course evaluation and feedback from the initial cohort has been very positive and health boards have contacted the Department to express their interest in offering the programme to their own staff. "We intend to run the course again next year and we will explore possibilities of extending it in various ways."

The first graduates of the programme, with Dr. Frank McMahon and Dr. Ellen Hazelkorn, Director and Dean of the Faculty of Applied Arts

Students enrolled on the course came from diverse work settings. To successfully complete the module, they were required to participate in classes offered over an 8-week period and to complete work-based projects. The twenty graduates were presented with their awards by Dr. Frank McMahon, Director of Academic Affairs.

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