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GMIT Letterfrack hosts national graduate conference

Award-winning furniture maker John Makepeace to deliver keynote address

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Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Graduates of GMIT Letterfrack are to gather in the Connemara campus this Friday, 5 October, for a national conference marking the 25th anniversary of the campus. Mr Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) will formally open the conference which runs from 9am to 6pm.

To mark its 25th anniversary, the campus has been designated the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology. The new designation underlines the excellence of standards in teaching and learning at the campus and the high esteem in which graduates of the programmes are held by industry.

The conference centres on the themes of entrepreneurship, diversification and networking. Established industry experts will address the conference, with UK furniture designer John Makepeace invited to give the keynote address. Makepeace received a Special Commendation in 2010 from the Prince Philip Designers Prize, and in 2011 a 50 year retrospective of his work toured the UK. His furniture can be seen in exhibitions and galleries in the UK and around the world and this is his first visit to GMIT Letterfrack.

The conference centres on the themes of entrepreneurship, diversification and networking. Established industry experts will address the conference, with UK furniture designer John Makepeace invited to give the keynote address. Makepeace received a Special Commendation in 2010 from the Prince Philip Designers Prize, and in 2011 a 50 year retrospective of his work toured the UK. His furniture can be seen in exhibitions and galleries in the UK and around the world and this is his first visit to GMIT Letterfrack.

The line-up of speakers includes Tommy Griffith, GMIT graduate, finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards 2009, and CEO of PEL Recycling Equipment which has established itself as a major manufacturer in recycling equipment and a leading supplier of waste reduction equipment; Seán Ryan, MD of Galtee Wood Products, established in 1981 and specialising in the manufacturing to order of quality hardwood kitchen doors only; and Sinead English, an eminent careers expert who is a regular and much sought after speaker at high profile Career Planning and Career Management events. Invited guests include visiting lecturers who have contributed to the success of the campus and members of Connemara West PLC, with whom GMIT Letterfrack partner in operating the campus.

A number of graduates of the campus will also speak about their career experiences. Also scheduled will be a series of demonstrations and workshops highlighting the applied technologies in use on the campus relevant to the furniture industry including laser and CNC machines, CAD/CAM systems, testing equipment, wood identification and technologies used in teaching. Delegates will attend a reception and dinner at the Abbeyglen Castle, Clifden later that evening.

Head of Department for GMIT Letterfrack, Dermot O’Donovan, says “this is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet with our graduates and to reflect on the past twenty five years of work on this campus. GMIT Letterfrack has built its reputation on the quality of its staff and the success of its graduates and the conference provides us with a forum to discuss ways in which GMIT can continue to play a role in supporting graduates in their quest for life-long learning. It is also a chance for those involved in the industry to network and generates ideas for future development of their own businesses. “

For further information on the GMIT Graduate Conference, see http://www.gmitletterfrackconference.ie/index.htm

Pictured at the GMIT Letterfrack Graduate Conference, marking the campus' 25th anniversary, L to R: Dermot O'Donovan, Head of the GMIT Letterfrack National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology; Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority; John Makepeace OBE, award-winning UK furniture designer and maker; and Michael Hannon, Registrar of GMIT.

Pictured at the GMIT Letterfrack Graduate Conference, marking the campus' 25th anniversary, L to R: Dermot O'Donovan, Head of the GMIT Letterfrack National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology; Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority; John Makepeace OBE, award-winning UK furniture designer and maker; and Michael Hannon, Registrar of GMIT.

Pictured at the GMIT Letterfrack Graduate Conference, marking the campus' 25th anniversary, L to R: Dermot O'Donovan, Head of the GMIT Letterfrack National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology; Tom Boland, Chief Executive, Higher Education Authority; John Makepeace OBE, award-winning UK furniture designer and maker; and Michael Hannon, Registrar of GMIT.