An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD gave his congratulations by video to 1000 healthcare staff who have completed a Continuing Professional Development qualification in Remote Working.
The unique course was devised by academics in TU Dublin College of Business, in partnership with the HSE and technology company Enovation.
In his remarks, An Taoiseach said he was delighted to be able to speak directly to graduates. He thanked them for their dedication and commitment in carrying out their critical roles in the fight against Covid19.
"Today's graduation was born out of COVID. It is an example of how people and organisations have had to adapt to this unprecedented situation."
Continuing, he said the success of the programme was remarkable, with over 2500 participants registering and the first 1000 completing it. He also congratulated the partners in TU Dublin, HSE and Enovation for creating this innovative opportunity.
The President of TU Dublin, Professor David FitzPatrick formally conferred graduates of the programme with their Award in what he said was the largest ever programme graduation in the history of the University. Commenting that in an online ceremony it wasn't possible to see the breadth and diversity among the graduates, he told the Assembly that it included HSE administrative staff, physiotherapists, doctors, nurses, first responders, and Section 39 workers, as well as colleagues from related organisations including Jigsaw, Make a Wish Foundation, Brothers of Charity, Tusla and others.
"It is a great pleasure to add this formal conferring following what must have been a very intense period of activity for you and congratulations on so rapidly seeking to develop the capacity to work effectively in a remote context."
When the Irish health sector was suddenly required to work-from-home due to government policy, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) and e-Learning solutions company Enovation knew they had to work fast to offer an innovative solution to assist staff in the sector adjust to this new way of working. In a few weeks, they rapidly devised and delivered an e-Learning package worth €1m for health sector staff on remote working.
Explaining the HSE requirement, Maria O'Loughlin, HSE Assistant National Director of Organisational Digital Change within Health Business Services, said:
"Our health sector staff is vast and diverse; it includes the doctors and nurses in our hospitals, our allied healthcare professionals, their administrative teams, thousands of specialist health sector workers to name only a few areas. When the decision was made to have as many employees work remotely as possible, we were faced with a huge organisational challenge from a technology and culture perspective. We collaborated with TU Dublin and Enovation to rapidly develop a tailored, online training solution to help support staff in the transition to remote working. The outcome has been phenomenal in terms of scale and impact, and the feedback in terms of the benefits and learning for our staff is fantastic".
Combining a state-of-the-art technical infrastructure and involving international experts and partners to deliver content, the solution was deployed in May. The course was available to any health sector worker, north or south, public or private in any role related to the health service and TU Dublin provided a fee-waiver worth €500 to each learner. In conjunction, Enovation implemented a secure, scalable infrastructure and managed learning platform on Moodle.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Professor FitzPatrick both congratulated the team behind the programme on their agility and innovation in devising and implementing it in such a short timeframe. Paul O'Reilly, Head of the School of Management, lecturers Rowena Hennigan, Maebh Coleman and Marian Jennings collaborated with the partner organisations to ensure that the programme met its objectives. Speaking on behalf of the team, Rowena Hennigan said:
"The partnership with Enovation was a match made in heaven, enabling us to combine our subject matter expertise with their large scale learning and talent capabilities at a pace to get a solution ready to market".
The team now aim to deploy other public-service training on remote working at scale to complement government plans for remote work into the future. They are keen to connect and speak to other government agencies to look at the opportunities to expand this successful blueprint model to further afield.