BY SEÁN P. FEENY
TWO Donegal-based outdoor education instructors have been selected to participate in a work placement exchange programme which will see them travel to France this month.
Declan O’Donnell (26) from Gartan and Derry man Gavin Porter (24) will be travelling to the Chamonix Valley to work at a ski centre for two weeks.
Twenty-three instructors from around the country are participating in the work exchange funded by the European Union under the Leonardo da Vinci Programme .
The programme funds practical projects in the field of vocational education and training. Initiatives range from those giving individuals work-related training abroad to large-scale co-operation efforts. Part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, it funds many different types of activities of varying scales.
Declan and Gavin are outdoor instructors at Gartan Outdoor Education Centre in Churchill and hope this experience will be of great benefit to them.
The course will give Declan and Gavin an opportunity to see first-hand how the busy ski centres in France are run during the winter season.
Gavin said: “The programme is to promote movement in Europe and give people the experience to see how their trade works in different countries.
“We will also get the opportunity to learn new skills, such as skiing and snowboarding, while also working, helping in the day-to-day running of the ski centre.”
While both instructors will be travelling for two weeks, they will not be going together. Gavin flew off to France on Saturday, January 12, while Declan will be going on the two-week programme on January 26.
Gavin said: “We are both hoping that this experience will be of great benefit to us. These ski centre deal with large volumes of visitors every week and hopefully we can learn something valuable that we will be able to apply in our jobs at Gartan.”