Caption for picture above:Tipperary ETB representatives pictured with Minister Simon Harris (centre) at the announcement of the expansion of Carrick-on-Suir FET Centre, from left: Adult Education Officers Catherine O’Callaghan, and Matthew Ryan, Chief Executive Bernadette Cullen, Minister Harris, Chairperson Cllr Mary Hanna-Hourigan, Carrick FET Centre Manager Fiona Hennessy, Director of Further Education Colin Cummins, Adult Education Officer Olivia Kennedy-Murphy, Director of Organisation, Support & Development Liam McGrath.
A major expansion of Carrick-on-Suir Further Education & Training Centre announced by Minister Simon Harris this week will include the introduction of electrical apprenticeship training to the college and will double its student numbers to 300.
The Minister for Further & Higher Education announced his Department’s significant capital investment during his visit to the Tipperary Education & Training Board-run college on Monday afternoon during which he toured its facilities and met some of its students.
Tipperary ETB has secured €1.3m for the upgrade and expansion of the centre that was formerly home to Comeragh College for 46 years until the community school moved to a new campus on the Pill Road. The school building, originally completed in 1970 with an extension built in 2004, reopened as Carrick FET Centre in 2016.
The first phase of the redevelopment will involve internal renovations to the existing building including the creation of two electrical workshops for training electrical apprentices, the refurbishment of the canteen, kitchen, staff offices some classrooms and toilets.
The second phase will include the building of an extension that will include a multi-purpose woodwork room and cutting room and new classrooms. A new car park is also planned.
Carrick-on-Suir FET Centre Manager and VTOS Co-ordinator Fiona Hennessy said the centre currently provides part-time and full-time courses for about 150 students and trainees. The expansion will increase its student numbers to 300.
Ms Hennessy said the project will be a big bonus for Carrick-on-Suir’s economy as the extra students and apprentices the centre will cater for along with the extra staff working there will all spend in local businesses.
Minister Harris’ visit to Carrick-on-Suir FET Centre was attended by a host of local dignitaries including Tipperary County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Roger Kennedy, Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District Cathaoirleach Cllr David Dunne, Tipperary ETB
Chairperson Cllr Mary Hanna-Hourigan, Tipperary ETB CEO Bernadette Cullen; Tipperary County Council CEO Joe MacGrath, Tipperary TDs Mattie McGrath, Michael Lowry and Jackie Cahill, Senator Garret Ahearn and other senior Tipperary ETB and local authority figures.
Minister Harris said this significant capital project will enhance further education and training services in the college by upgrading existing infrastructure and providing additional accommodation.
“I want to acknowledge the vision and commitment of Tipperary ETB in getting us to this stage with this project.
“This investment will ensure that learners and staff will have a fit for purpose facility which will provide access, transfer and progression opportunities for all students.
“It will play a key role in achieving the wider geographical and strategic vision that Tipperary Education & Training Board has for Carrick-on-Suir Further Education and Training College,” he added.
Minister Harris said he looked forward to working with Carrick FET Centre and he was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to meet with a number of its students during his visit.
“What struck me about this centre when I spent a while walking around it is the huge diversity of courses and education you are providing. That is the diversity we need to start valuing in further education.”
He recalled how one student he spoke with joked that the only thing she knew about a computer before coming to the centre was how to dust it. He praised the leadership of the centre’s staff in taking people from any stage in life and instilling confidence and belief in them to learn a skill.
Tipperary ETB and the Department of Further & Higher Education said the upgrade of Carrick FET Centre forms part of the first phase of projects to be advanced under the national Further Education and Training (FET) Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund (SIUF).
Finance for the project will be provided through SOLAS to Tipperary ETB. The project will now move forward to the appointment of a design team.
Tipperary ETB Chairperson Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan welcomed Minister Harris to Carrick Further Education and Training Centre and spoke of how the centre has become a focal point for further education, training and community activities since it opened in 2016.
She said the most exciting aspect of the upgrade of the centre - the introduction of electrical apprenticeship training - sent a “strong and positive message to local enterprise”.
Tipperary ETB CEO, Bernadette Cullen, said the inclusion of Carrick-on-Suir as one of the 13 projects funded by Minister Harris was a “significant step forward” in the long-term strategic plan for the Further Education and Training College of the future in county Tipperary.
“It will enable Tipperary ETB to upgrade the facilities and expand the provision of full and part-time programmes from Levels 1-6 on the National Qualifications Framework.
“We would like to acknowledge and thank the Minister, his Department, and SOLAS for their support of Tipperary ETB for this project.
“We look forward to continuing to work with local communities, employers and all our stakeholders in Carrick-on Suir to ensure that we meet local needs and support local development.
“We also look forward to more developments ahead as our Board is very ambitious for the future of further education and training for our learners.”
Tipperary ETB’s Director of Further Education, Colin Cummins, said it was an exciting development for Tipperary ETB and for the people of Tipperary.
“The provision of this capital funding will allow us to upgrade and expand our facilities, ensuring Tipperary ETB can provide high-quality locations for further education and training, with increased capacity for adult learners.”
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