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Long-term unemployed man “at a loss” after college course cancelled

A course in Construction, Management, Maintenance and Refurbishment was due to begin on 9 September, but was cancelled last week.

Image: Open book in library via Shutterstock

A MAN WHO is long-term unemployed has expressed his frustration that a course he was accepted into by GMIT was cancelled just weeks before it was due to begin.

The man, who did not want to be named, told TheJournal.ie that he is “at a loss” following the decision. He said he was due to begin the Construction Management in Refurbishment and Maintenance course on 9 September at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Castlebar campus.

However he said he received a phone call from GMIT on Wednesday 21 August to say the course was cancelled due to the fact there were not enough students for the course to go ahead.

Application

He first heard of the course after receiving a letter from GMIT last November saying the Department of Social Welfare had put his name forward.

He attended an open evening and applied for the course that evening. He was called for an interview and was offered a place in July.

However, he said he was told that eight people accepted a place on the course, and that ultimately the course did not have enough participants.

He believes that the college should have been informed that the numbers weren’t there for the course, and the prospective students given more warning.

“Two days after CAO offers went out for school leavers they pulled the course,” he said.

Places

A spokesperson for GMIT said that those who were due to take part in the cancelled course were subsequently offered a place on the course at the Galway campus. However, the man TheJournal.ie spoke to said that as he is based in Mayo and has young children, this would not be possible for him.

He said that if he had been informed in advance “you’d have options”, but it is now too late for him to apply for another similar course in Castlebar.

He is long-term unemployed and was previously working in the construction sector. “There are no jobs out there,” he said. “It was a chance to go and get an education. I left school at 14.”

He said that he is frustrated and that “this is no way to treat people”.

It’s beyond me how they can do this, how they can wait until everything else is gone and just go ‘now we’re pulling the plug on this’.

“I’d just like to understand how this can happen,” he said, adding that it shouldn’t happen again and affect other people.

He had applied for a grant and was “ready to go”. Asked what he can do next, he said “not a lot really – keep going, try and find the work”.

“The dole office would be sending me out a letter, asking me what am I doing to find myself a job,” he said. “I can’t really say if it’s going ahead next year.”

Disappointment

A spokesperson from GMIT said that the decision on the course was made on the Monday after the CAO points were sent out.

They said the college understands his disappointment, but they couldn’t inform people any earlier than this date.

There were seven mature students and four people who were offered a place through the CAO offers. As the CAO acceptance rate is about 30 per cent, they anticipated one person from the CAO offers would accept it, making 8 students, which was not enough to run the course.

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