The mCommunity project is an Interreg 4A Ireland Wales Programme that has identified a new and effective way to engage with the disaffected and unemployed using smart phone technology and social media. The technology and training partnership between Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) and PembrokeshireCollege and Gower College Swansea, Wales is already helping educators in Wales combat long term and generational unemployment using the latest telecommunications technology.
The mCommunity technology has been completely developed at the TSSG group in Waterford and is being rolled out successfully using experienced tutors with project partners in Wales. The project has developed an innovative learning platform aimed at adults not currently in employment, education or training. The technology is also being used by SME’s for distance learning and facilitates specific training for company’s with minimal disruption to the working day.
As part of the project roll out, SME’s in the Waterford area enrolled in a free, Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management in Waterford during the summer. Participants were loaned an android tablet computer whilst on the programme. The course involved a number of days of classroom delivery and then the rest was delivered on the mCommunity app remotely by tutors in Wales via the loaned device.
Three company’s successfully completed the programme and certificates were presented to participants from Nutripharma, Munster Bar & Restaurant and Chia Bia at an event held in the Munster Bar prior to Christmas.
As it coincided with a project meeting, all the partners were present and Rob Murphy, tutor from Gower College Swansea who delivered the course, presented the awards.
Sean Lyons, Project Manager, TSSG said: “When we were approached to collaborate with our Welsh partners on this project, we realised that the technical requirements would be challenging. The platform had to be very user friendly, allowing users to choose preferred communication channels, whether it’s Instant Messaging or via Social Media. It also had to integrate with Moodle as the virtual learning application,” he said. “The results of the project have been outstanding both for disengaged individuals and for SME’s who can engage in further training remotely and at a time that suits them.This provides greater flexibility over how, where, and when learners achieve their qualification.”
“Research and development is all about collaboration with partners both nationally and internationally. We are very proud of the significant contribution that we are making to the project, the feedback has been excellent and we are confident of seeing the very positive results continue”, he added.
As well as the project partners and participating company’s, the event was also attended by Siobhan Rudden, Development Officer – Ireland Wales Programme 2007-2013 Interreg 4A at the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly.