Written answers

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Technological Universities

Photo of Cathal CroweCathal Crowe (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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58. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if there are plans to offer new and additional courses at the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest’s Ennis campus. [36590/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Following my granting on 5 May 2021 of their application for TU status under the Technological Universities Act 2018, the dissolution of Athlone and Limerick Institutes of Technology required the approval by both Houses of the Oireachtas of a draft order appointing the date of establishment of the new Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest. The date in prospect is 1 October 2021. The order was approved in the Dáil on 7 July 2021 and is scheduled for consideration by the Seanad on 12 July 2021.

The communities in areas where there are campuses of the new TU, including at Ennis will, over time, benefit from the university attracting more students, the retention and creation of skills and employment in its regional hinterlands and acting as a catalyst for research, innovation and enterprise with a view to attracting increasing levels of investment including Foreign Direct Investment and to contributing to further regional and socio-economic development.

I am strongly committed to appropriate capital investment to underpin the ambitions of our higher education institutions including TUs. Officials from my Department and the Higher Education Authority have regular engagement with HEIs, including Athlone and Limerick Institutes of Technology, in relation to their future campus development plans.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), including TUs, are autonomous and determine themselves which courses they will offer. However, under Springboard+ and the Human Capital Initiative this Department has been funding courses in areas of identified skills needs.

Ennis is a campus of Limerick IT, and while the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest has received its designation as a Technical University, the Springboard+ and HCI funded offerings of each Institute are being managed separately for programmes starting in September 2021.

Across AIT and LIT the following is on offer:

Provider Course Type Courses Total
AIT Springboard+ 27 50
LIT Springboard+ 23
AIT HCI Pillar 1 7 14
LIT HCI Pillar 1 7
While these programmes aren’t located on the Ennis campus, with the flexible delivery in place through Springboard+ and HCI they are accessible to participants from across the region.

Springboard+ is a competitive call process, whereby Higher Education Institutions engage with enterprise to create proposals for courses in areas of identified skills need. Currently, Springboard+ enables institutions to put forward courses in any skills need that can be evidenced. The Springboard+ call process has concluded for this year, and will not commence again until late 2021/early 2022.

The HCI Pillar 1 call in 2020, through which these programmes were selected, was also a competitive process with providers submitting programmes in identified key skills areas.


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