Major investments in skills provision in Mid-West

Major investments in skills provision in Mid-West


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins have announced a major investment in skills training for the Mid-West region.

Ministers Harris and Collins will visit Limerick to open a new NZEB & Retrofit Centre of Excellence, to announce the purchase of new training buildings for Limerick and Clare Education Training Board (LCETB), and to deliver funding for the fit out of a major new facility for engineering students and apprentices at the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Coonagh Campus.

Minister Harris said: “This is a really exciting time for skills provision and training in the Mid-West region. I’m delighted to be officially opening the NZEB Retrofitting Centre because the bottom line is, we are never going to achieve our climate targets without the National Retrofitting Plan.

“We know that one of our biggest challenges is attracting people to partake in the area of green skills. Facilities like this one will make sure that we have the right training on offer and that we are attracting people we need to take up the places.

“But I am also in Limerick today to make two other significant announcements – the purchase of three buildings at Mulgrave Street for Limerick and Clare ETB, and capital funding to complete a major building at the TUS Coonagh campus.

“These investments will help ensure that our learners and staff in both Limerick and Clare ETB and TUS are provided with the tools and facilities they need to reach their undoubted potential.

“I’m also in Limerick today to discuss how we progress a proposal for the new Library building for Mary Immaculate College, which I know is of huge importance to college staff and students.”

The NZEB & Retrofit Centre of Excellence in Roxboro will offer training to approximately 1,500 learners annually. Overall, this will consist of training in NZEB Electrical, NZEB Plastering, NZEB Plumbing, NZEB Bricklaying, NZEB Carpentry complemented by training in NZEB fundamentals, Air Tightness, Ventilation and Insulation. Training will be further enhanced via upskilling courses in Solar and Heat Pump Technologies.

Retrofit Insulation Skills will provide participants the knowledge and skill to insulate a building using best practice. This includes internal, external, floor and roof insulation.

This 14,000 square feet training facility will provide skills training for individuals who are unemployed and for individuals in employment wishing to upskill.

The Centre of Excellence will contribute significantly to national policy priorities on Housing for All – housing construction, retrofitting of homes, and carbon reduction.

The new purchase of facilities for LCETB consists of three buildings located at Mulgrave Street, approximately one kilometre from Limerick’s City Centre. The property, comprising commercial buildings, open plan warehousing and offices, extend to an area of approximately 13,200 sq ft, located on a 0.7 acres site.

The property, which has been purchased at a cost of €500,000, is located adjacent to the existing College of Further Education and Training, LCFE Mulgrave St Campus at Market Fields on Mulgrave Street.

LCETB are developing an application under the Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund (SIUF), a new capital programme announced earlier this year by Minister Harris, to develop this site to create a Film and Digital Media Centre of Excellence.

This would allow the ETB and its constituent College of Further Education and Training campus, in collaboration with “Film in Limerick” and local industries such as Troy Studio and Odyssey Studios, to be a leading provider of film and digital media education and training in the Mid-West region.

The capital funding to fit out the building at the TUS Coonagh campus will facilitate an expansion of engineering education and research, and with an emphasis on increasing apprenticeship provision. In this regard, it has a clear regional development impact.

Minister Collins said: “I’m thrilled to be in Limerick today to make these significant announcements, which are all sure to improve the education experiences for learners and staff, as well as fuelling the economy throughout the entire region.

“We know the provision of skills training in a number of areas needs to be improved in Ireland, that’s why Minister Harris and I, and our Department, are determined to continue making smart investments in the right places.

“Each of today’s announcements, from the NZEB opening to the delivery of world class facilities for LCETB and TUS, will ensure learners have the best possible chance to succeed in their chosen careers, while delivering endless benefits for the wider region.”

George O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of Limerick and Clare ETB, said: “We very much welcome the announcement by the Minister today.

“It is aligned to one of the key priorities of our FET Strategic Framework ensuring FET facilities provide the best learning and working environments that reflect quality and industry standards, and promote innovation and sustainability.

“This would enable the development of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ that would reflect our unique capabilities (staff expertise, facilities and teaching and learning) and the Film and Digital Media industry cluster that exists in the Mid-West.”

Professor Vincent Cunnane, LIT President

President of TUS, Professor Vincent Cunnane welcomed the announcement of funding for the TUS Coonagh campus, saying: “When the TUS Coonagh campus comes on stream, it will facilitate an expansion of engineering education and research, with an emphasis on increasing apprenticeship provision.

“This will clearly have a beneficial impact in the region by providing both new research facilities for industry and by increasing the opportunities for people to access education in a range of disciplines.”