Two projects led by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have been approved under the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 3 (Innovation and Agility).
The HCI will deliver an investment targeted towards increasing capacity in higher education in skills focused programmes designed to meet priority skills needs.
One of the WIT projects has the funds industry in its sights, while the other is in the engineering sphere (additive manufacturing, frequently referred to as 3D printing).
The WIT-led AMASE: Additive Manufacturing Advancing the South East is in collaboration with partners IT Carlow and industry partners has been awarded € 2,152,349. The WIT School of Engineering through its SEAM Research Centre is a leader in the development of additive manufacturing. The funding will enable the development and implementation of a new and unique degree programme in additive manufacturing.
Head of the WIT School of Engineering Dr Ken Thomas said: “Additive Manufacturing is both the present and the future for many of the companies in region. Not only is very significant investment in new technology required, it is also absolutely vital to have personnel with the new knowledge and skills. This funding will lead to a higher-skilled workforce, sustainable employment, more and better jobs.
The WIT-led Strengthening and Protecting the Funds Industry in Ireland in collaboration with partners Cork Institute of Technology, State Street and BNY Mellon was awarded € 2,048,180.
The funding will permit the establishment of an Academy for Investment Fund Executive Education and Development at WIT. WIT Business School dean Dr Thomas O’Toole said: “The funding will be of benefit to all those working in the industry who are interested in developing their careers further. Current events have shown that, perhaps, there is now an alternative skill set required so that people can operate effectively in under new and evolving circumstances. Concepts such as adaptability and resilience have now entered the normal discourse. These are the types of concepts, amongst others, that participants will explore on the programmes developed by the Academy.”
WIT Department of Lifelong Learning head Neil Quinlan said: “WIT is delighted to lead initiatives in two key industry growth sectors for the South East – Precision Manufacturing Engineering and Financial Services. WIT is also working on further HCI projects including with IT Carlow on facilitating adults access higher education through Recognition of Prior Learning, and on developing future entrepreneurs with Technological University Dublin.”
Mr Quinlan further outlineed the importance of the funding tranche. “UNESCO’s recent expert report on lifelong learning emphasised the need to build people’s capacity to deal with change and profound importance of this given the disruption and uncertainly being felt across society from demographic change, the climate crisis, the rapid advance of technology and, more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. Ireland showed great vision in developing the institute of technology sector 50 years ago to meet the needs of a rapidly changing society at that time. Meeting current critical need for greater and better lifelong learning opportunities requires a similar step-change in public policy and the HCI is a very welcome development in this regard.”