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21 January 2013

Sligo 2013 official launch

Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children, Tommy Gorman and Christy Kennelly to speak at Institute of Guidance National Conference

500 Guidance Counsellors expected to attend National Conference in Sligo

The launch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellor’s (IGC) 2013 National Conference and AGM was held in the Radisson Blu Hotel Sligo on Thursday evening, 17th January.  Hosted by the Sligo - Longford branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, The National Conference & AGM will take  place in the Radisson Blu Hotel and the Institute of Technology Sligo from 7th-9th March.

Entitled ‘The Challenge for Change - A Vision for the Future,” the three day conference will be attended by Guidance Counsellors from post primary schools and adult education centres throughout Ireland.

Recognised by the Department of Education and Skills for provision of continuing professional development education to Guidance Counsellors, the conference has grown over the years and an attendance in excess of 500 guidance Counsellors is expected for this year’s conference.

Guest speakers at this year’s event include Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children who will deliver the Keynote Address on Friday morning 8th March and Tommy Gorman, RTE Northern Editor and Christy Kennelly, well-known Irish TV presenter, scriptwriter and author who will speak on Thursday evening.

The main sponsor for this year’s Conference is NUI Galway with supporting sponsorship provided by the Institute of Technology Sligo, NUI Maynooth and University College Dublin.
Additional sponsorship include County Sligo VEC, Dublin Institute of Technology and Careers Portal

Chairperson of the Sligo organising committee Helen Barr said that the North West has delighted to host this year’s conference.

“The Institute of Guidance Counsellors National Conference is a flagship event for guidance counsellors. We have an impressive line up of speakers and are delighted to welcome Emily Logan as our key note speaker and Tommy Gorman and Christy Kennelly who will address delegates on Thursday evening, “ said Helen.

An important training event for all professional guidance counsellors, this year’s gathering in Sligo occurs in the wake of a recent independent national survey carried out by Sheelagh Beatty of Life Care Psychological Services, which found that last year’s removal by the Department of Education and Skills of the guidance allocation in second level schools and colleges of further education has led to a reduction of 51.4% in the time allocated to guidance counselling services.

President of The Institute of Guidance Counsellors, which commissioned the study, Mr Gerry Flynn said: “These findings reflect very badly on our priorities - at a time of greatest need among young people we are seeing the greatest reduction in counselling services.”

“Cutting one-to-one counselling service in half in the current environment where we are every day witnessing the increasing challenges facing young people such as bullying and other serious personal crisis is unconscionable. It's hard to see how it can achieve anything other than leave more young people exposed to risk,” he said.

“Reducing the opportunities for young people to have easy access to qualified counsellors is also completely at odds with Government policy and its stated commitment to help young people who may be vulnerable.”
Gerry Flynn said that guidance counsellors in schools across the country represented a unique network of skilled professionals with direct access to young people.

“It is the only network of its type where trained professionals are in the same location as young people day in day out over an extended period. They can provide the continuity of care and trusted support much needed by young people in a familiar non-threatening environment,” concluded Mr. Flynn.

Attendance at the Institute of Guidance Counsellor’s National Conference is open to members and non- members. For registration details please check out www.igc.ie/conference