Funding of €1.4m has been afforded to Athlone Institute of Technology, an allocation which will allow the progressive third level college to expand course numbers to match industry requirements.
The funding allocation was formally announced by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor, as Athlone Institute of Technology launched its new Strategic Plan – A Technological University for the Region on Monday morning.
Welcoming the news, local Minister of State, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran, stated that a number of courses on offer at Athlone IT would now be able to take on an additional 150 places for the next academic year.
“This is another great story for Athlone IT. The college is really taking the lead on providing top-class educational opportunities for our young people in the Midlands and beyond.
The news announced is part of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI ), which delivers an investment targeted towards increasing capacity in higher education in skills-focused programmes designed to meet priority skills needs.
“The additional places will be provided on such in demand courses such as business information systems, robotics, civil engineering and quantity surveying. The Human Capital Initiative is an excellent way for industry to and education authorities to come together to match the future demand for employment.
“The Human Capital Initiative will provide us with the innovative workers we need to future-proof our economy. The initiative, with its strong focus on innovation and agility, will ensure that our graduates are in a position to respond positively to the challenges and opportunities ahead," Minister Moran asserted.
Echoing similar sentiments, Athlone based Senator, Gab McFadden, highlighted the importance of this move in the development of the college.
“We are all delighted with this additional funding which will allow more students to be taken on in nine specific courses which are skills focused and which have been chosen to meet growing needs of employers, especially in the Midlands region.
“This news comes on top of €750,000 announced last week for capital works and several other good news stories for Athlone IT during the past year, the most important of which was the announcement that it would form part of a consortium to bid for Technological University status. Each step further enhances the capacity of the college and delivers further investment and potential to the Midlands and that can only be positive.
“As a Senator on the Culture and Education panel and as a former Board Member of Athlone IT, promoting the progressive college has been one of my key priorities while in the Oireachtas. With such progress, Athlone is moving towards being the regional capital of the Midlands.
“I wish to publicly thank my colleagues, Minister for State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, for their support and wish Professor Ciarán Ó’Catháin and his team well in the fantastic job that they are doing for our students and for our region," Senator McFadden remarked.