Green light for Wicklow College of the future

Minister Harris announces significant milestone for Wicklow 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 25th) announced that the green light has been given to Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) to proceed to the next stage in developing a proposal for a College of The Future (COTF).

The project proposed is for the development of a Wicklow College of Further Education and Training at the existing Bray campus site. It envisages the creation of a state-of-the-art education and training campus which will deliver apprenticeship programmes, pre-apprenticeship courses, and establish a proposed National Centre of Excellence in Film and TV and Media.

The project proposed is for a significant upgrade and extension of Bray Institute of Further Education campus. The college envisages expanding its delivery of Apprenticeship courses and additional pre-apprenticeship courses. The college will also envisages moving to a joint degree modelling which would enable students to move seamlessly between further and higher education.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “This is a brilliant day for County Wicklow and for the Bray Institute of Further Education. Wicklow has been chosen as one of ten locations to proceed to develop a further education College of the Future.

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

“This proposed campus will take what Wicklow is doing well, such as film and media and build on it. A more integrated learning and related supports services is a central part of their ambitions as well as providing opportunities for apprenticeships.

“The 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 County Wicklow 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 Wicklow area, but also an important milestone in the evolution of FET facilities and provision nationwide.

“Wicklow 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. 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 Kildare and Wicklow Education & Training Board and all of the potential learners in the County Wicklow area on what is an inspiring day for both the region and the sector.”

Chief Executive of Kildare and Wicklow ETB Dr Deirdre Keyes said: “This is an important day for the people of Wicklow and for all the staff in our Education and Training Board.

“This is a major investment in the development of Further Education and Training in Wicklow and the integration of our services onto one campus.

“Bray Institute of Further Education (BIFE) has a long tradition of innovation and delivering for the people in the region. We look forward to the development of the new campus into Wicklow College of the Future.”

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