Minister Harris announces significant milestone for Mayo as he confirms go ahead for next phase of proposal development for capital investment

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (November 28th) announced that the green light has been given to Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim Education and Training Board to proceed to the next stage in developing a College of The Future (COTF).

The project envisages a state-of-the-art further education campus built in Castlebar. The proposal details an expansion of capacity that would provide full-time and part-time education and apprenticeships.

This is coupled with the potential to ensure access, engagement and retention of learners using blended and online learning methodologies so learners from across our region can take part in full-time and part-time provision.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

“This is a brilliant day for Mayo. Castlebar has been chosen as one of ten locations to proceed to develop their proposal for a further education College of the Future.

“We have already been to Cork, Kerry and Wicklow announcing similar projects and much more to come.

“The proposal will see the development of a new College of FET campus here in Castlebar. The new Further Education campus will also function as a community resource where facilities can be used for a range of societal and cultural purposes.

“The Mayo Sligo and Leitrim regions have always had a long standing commitment to Further Education.

“This College of the Future Major Projects Fund will support the implementation of the vision set out in the Further Education Strategy. This Fund, and the proposed for development in Mayo has the potential to deliver on a range of strategic objectives. It is great that the proposal will now proceed to Preliminary Business Case Stage.”

Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said:

“Today’s announcement marks an important step forward for learners and communities in the Mayo area, but also an important milestone in the evolution of FET facilities and provision nationwide.

“This College of the Future is part of a larger shift towards distinct, integrated colleges of FET around the country, which will serve as a beacons of community-based learning excellence. Mayo was one of the first to establish a single integrated College of FET brand and this is the next step on the journey.

“As we continue to deliver cutting edge campuses that showcase the very best of FET, we will start to change the hearts and minds of Irish society with regard to school-leaver and lifelong education options.

“A warm congratulations to my colleagues in Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education & Training Board and all of the potential learners in Mayo and surrounding areas on what is an inspiring day for both the region and the sector.”

Tom Grady Chief Executive of Mayo Sligo Leitrim ETB said:

“Mayo College of Further Education and Training will be a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive college hosting a wide range of Further Education and Training opportunities.

“This announcement today is a significant milestone in the development of Further Education within Mayo Sligo and Leitrim ETB and we look forward to development of the preliminary business case and working with all stakeholders to ensure that the envisaged college is one that is deeply embedded in the communities it will be built to serve”.

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