Putting down roots in 2001, Killarney VTOS moved into its present premises at Ivy House. Initially, occupying one floor. However, with an increase in student numbers and greater demand for space, it was eventually decided to acquire the entire building which was completely refurbished in 2011. Now on our 20th anniversary, we can accommodate up to 70 adult learners, in addition to the leaving certificate programme. We now offer 2 accredited VETAC course, which are employment skills and information and communication technology skills.

Ann Nagle- testimonialI want to take a moment of your time tonight to discuss my personal experience at Killarney VTOS. I won’t lie to you all. It was a rocky road, but a memorable one.
I remember well packing myself off to school that first day with my shining new biros, my spanking new school bag. Let me tell you it was an unusual experience at best, given I have done the same for my four daughters, over the last 20 years.
My first class was Geography and it was, in itself, a baptism of fire. Anyone tonight, who knows Mary Harrington, is well aware of her enthusiasm and love for teaching. Which in translation, means, she talks a mile a minute because she is so excited about crops in France and all…  Now! Try keeping up with that note taking? Poor Euge couldn’t even hold his pipe at the break his hand was so sore. Aptly, she earned the name Jack Hammer.  She even went as far as to teach me, all by my little self, a triple history.  Mary O Connor even took pity on me and told her to let me have a much needed cup of tea. And let me tell you, Mary O Connor takes pity on no one when it comes to education.
Maths class was another shock for me.  I mean who knew x + y = 7? I thought it equalled a son! Letters belong in the English class, or at least that is what I ranted for several hours, while dancing on my text book, with my husband looking on thinking that his wife was losing her mind.
But sometimes, I think in the end, I confused Mary, more than she confused me. As she looked on, pen in mouth, at my off the wall interpretation of what I understood.  Thankfully, despite the silliness of my questions, Mary was nothing but tactful in letting me down easy. 

As an adult in my late twenties, I was constantly heard whining about not having any qualifications to my name.  Eventually, instead of sitting on my laurels, I decided to do something about it.  I enrolled on the local VTOS course in Killarney, where over two years I was able to study for my Leaving Certificate.  My experience in VTOS was so positive and powerful that it changed the whole course of my life. 

Mary Hurley - testimonialAdult education is based on an environment of trust and respect among students and teachers, which allows the student to relax and concentrate on achieving their learning goals.  Teachers in this environment have empathy and patience and are considerate of the different needs of each adult learner.  This environment also allows the student’s personal development to take shape, as they can become aware themselves of their own strengths and weaknesses.  To say I enjoyed my time in VTOS would be an understatement: at the end of my two years there I aspired to be like them, my role models: the teachers in adult education. 

I received all the encouragement I needed from VTOS to go on to Further Education and, after successfully completing my Leaving Certificate, I was offered a place in the ITT to study for a degree in e-Business.  This course was four years long, and I completed it in 2004, being awarded a first-class honours degree.  As part of my degree course I had to do three months work experience and again, VTOS came to the rescue here and allowed me to do my experience with them.  Completing my work experience here clarified for me that adult education was the area I wanted to work in.  So, in September 2004, clutching my very much valued qualifications, I entered the world of adult education, only this time as a tutor with Kerry Education Services, not as a student.

Returning to education was never a burning desire I had. I left school in 1993 fist pumping the air and being told by the principle that I would never amount to anything in my life only a messer. I believed her 100% because in the education system I struggled and was constantly put down so I rebelled by being a messer and left with a very poor education! I swore I would never again return!Peig O Sullivan - testimonialHow wrong I was. My 3 year old daughter attended a Montessori school on high street Killarney. I went to collect her on day and realised I had forgotten to give her something for show and tell. On getting to the door I asked her teacher if she had got upset because she did not have any thing and she told me they asked her to tell them about what she was going to be when she grew up. Lauren (my daughter) informed the school that she wanted to be a burglar just like her mom, then she could eat burgers and chips every day!!! I was content with my life but I wanted better for my daughter. I wanted her to succeed and make something for herself and it dawned on me there and then that I was her role model and if I had dreams and aspirations for her then I needed to show her.
The VTOS office was on high street that time and I went from the school upstairs to the office and met with Mike Garner the co-ordinator at that time. I signed up for my leaving cert and when mike asked me what my goal was I stated I wanted to be a child psychologist, I could not even spell it!!!!

In June 1988 on completion of my Intermediate Certificate, I turned my back on my education and joined the world of employment. Although it seemed like a good idea at the time, this was a decision I would come to regret long before eventually becoming unemployed in late 2011. I began to develop a chip on my shoulder, which over time and in the company of some of my peers, began to eat away at me and left me feeling wholly inadequate due to my lack of sufficient education.

 

Anthony Foley - testimonialWhen asked one day if Killarney VTOS was something I would consider, straight away, it seemed like a good idea and I immediately set about trying to gain a place on the Course. I cited my sense of unfinished business as far as my education was concerned as my reason for wanting to return to full time adult education. I waited in anticipation and a growing sense of excitement for a decision on my application and when the phone call of acceptance finally arrived, my focus now shifted from the search for employment to a brighter future.


 I entered into this course with a sense of excitement and a renewed confidence in myself and gradually became acquainted with my new tutors and fellow students.

 

The best decision I ever made after I was made redundant was to return back to education.
My confidence was low and I felt stuck.

sheila o learyI was apprehensive but as soon as I entered the door of Killarney VTOS, I knew I had made the right decision.  Immediately I was made feel part of a family and developed real positive relationships with staff and students.  The modules were very interesting and were reasonable challenges – It was all very achievable and I used to look forward to going in every morning.  I successfully acquired a Major Award in Information Communication Technology Skills to FETAC (QQI) level 4 standard.

 The personal development was the biggest part for me and because I was doing something constructive and bettering myself, my confidence grew.  The staff showed us how to achieve our dreams and gave us practical approaches on how to be successful at interviews, CV preparation and Job searching.  Confidence grew for all of us students and we were all prepared to look forward to the future with the possibility of going forward into higher education or enter the world of work, which I did.