50th Anniversary Ceremony for National Skills

The splendour of the Round Room in Dublin's Mansion House on Dawson Street was an appropriate setting for the closing ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Education and Science's National Skills Competition 2007. The event, which took place on Saturday 24 March, was organised by DIT National Skills Competition Organising Committee. The very large attendance included parents and friends of competitors, their employers, and representatives of trade unions and of industry. There was great excitement and anticipation among the audience as the names of competitors from the various trades were called by organising committee chairman Donal Keys. As they entered, the Round Room was filled with the sounds of Beethoven, played by the Praga String Quartet who are all past and present students of DIT Conservatory.

The 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony for the National Skills Competition in the Round Room at the Mansion House

The eighty-five competitors hailed from twenty-two counties all around Ireland, from Cork to Donegal, and from Dublin to Galway, with representatives from every Institute of Technology. They had all been put through their paces during the competition and had shown tremendous skill and strength of character as they worked under intense pressure throughout the week. Mr. Michael Murphy, Dean of Craft Education and Training, introduced Professor John Ratcliffe, Director of the Faculty of the Built Environment who delivered an inspiring speech in which he commended both the competitors and their mentors for their extraordinary dedication to their craft.

Competitors are applauded as they enter the Round Room

Mr. Liam Corcoran, Senior Inspector from the Department of Education and Science, came to the podium to announce the names of the winners amid palpable excitement. The roof of the Round Room almost lifted with the cheers of friends, families and employers of each winner.

Professor John Ratcliffe, Director and Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment, speaking to the National Skills competitors and their families and employers

The Chairperson of the DIT Competition Organising Committee, Mr. Donal Keys then delivered the closing address, congratulating not only the winners but every one of the competitors. He paid tribute to the visiting delegation from Japan who, as organisers of the next World Skills competition, had spent the week both as participants and observers to learn from how the competition was run. He also thanked the sponsors who had supported the event, in particular Snickers Workwear who had kitted out each participant giving the competition a 'Formula One' flavour.

Donal Keys, Chairman of the DIT National Skills Organising Committee

At the end of the formal ceremony, excellent refreshments were served while the winners and competitors posed for group and individual photographs with Professor Ratcliffe, the industry sponsors and with their families. The Traditional Ensemble from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama played a number of rousing tunes, bringing to a close a remarkable and memorable occasion.

The large audience shows appreciation for competitors and organisers of the National Skills Competition

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