1,000-student ‘College of the Future’ for Swords

Green light given for state-of-the-art further education campus.

Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education Training Board (DDLETB) has been given permission by the Department of Education to proceed to the next stage in developing a College of The Future (COTF).

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, granted the go-ahead on Friday (2 December).

“This College of the Future is part of a larger shift towards distinct, integrated colleges of FET around the country, which will serve as beacons of community-based learning excellence”

The project envisages a state-of-the-art further education and training (FET) campus built in Swords with a proposal to serve 1,000 students.

A beacon for further education

“This is a brilliant day for Dublin Fingal,” Minister Harris said. “It has been chosen as one of 10 locations to proceed to develop their proposal for a further education College of the Future.

“This is one of Ireland’s fastest growing areas and this proposed purpose-built Further Education College will help drive the region and will help it prepare the region with the skillset it needs to deliver for the people of Dublin Fingal.

“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 Swords 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,” Minister Harris said.

Chief executive of DDLETB Caitriona Murphy added: “Building on existing Further Education and Training provision across Fingal to meet the growing and diverse needs of stakeholders in this area is a priority for DDLETB for some time. 

“This approval to proceed to the next stage of proposal development in Further Education and Training is very welcome and will enable us to deliver on our ambitions for the people of Fingal and surrounding areas”

The green light marks an important step forward for learners and communities in the Fingal area and indeed for Dublin as a whole, noted Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS.

“This is a part of the city which has been underserved by tertiary education as its population continued to grow and grow. Now we are proud to see a proposal which would see this situation addressed, in what is 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 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.

Minister Darragh O’Brien said: “It is clear that as a country we need to offer a range of options for our learners in a way and in a time in their life that suits them. We need to also be responsive to the needs of our communities and provide a skilled workforce to optimise the wider needs of society enabling dedicated upskilling and reskilling opportunities for employees, enterprise and communities.

“The FET College of the Future proposal here in Swords provides a unique opportunity to respond to skills demand and ensure flexibility to respond to future developments across many sectors. We are dramatically increasing the supply of all types of housing and accommodation, including student accommodation.

“To deliver the ambitions set out in Housing for All, FET Colleges of the Future will be key enablers as we work to address the housing crisis and transform our housing system, a skilled and responsive workforce is crucial,” O’Brien added.

Main image at top: Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

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