Economy Minister Diane Dodds has highlighted the importance of further education colleges which deliver significant benefits to learners, businesses and wider society.
The Minister was speaking as she attended the topping out ceremony for Southern Regional College’s new £15million campus in Banbridge, which is being funded by her Department.
Minister Dodds said: “I very much welcome the opportunity to view the excellent progress that is being made in the construction of Southern Regional College’s new Banbridge campus. The new facilities will deliver industry-leading education and training, including an innovation hub space to support entrepreneurial and business enterprise, and digital media facilities. I commend everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition and look forward to seeing this fantastic new campus open to students in September.”
The Minister continued: “The six local further education colleges are helping people right across Northern Ireland gain the skills and knowledge they need to compete for jobs and pursue fulfilling career paths. In turn, businesses have access to the skilled people that enable them to succeed and grow – helping boost the economy for everyone’s benefit.”
The Minister received a tour of the new 4,500 square-metre campus for Southern Regional College in Banbridge, which will house specialist accommodation designed to facilitate world class professional and technical education and training.
Mrs Dodds added: “This investment in SRC Banbridge is part of a wider funding package of £220million that will deliver a total of seven major capital projects right across the FE sector in Northern Ireland, helping ensure the colleges are equipped to continue delivering for learners, business and wider society, well into the future.”
Brian Doran, Chief Executive of Southern Regional College, concluded: “I am delighted to witness the significant progress that has been made on the Banbridge campus project since the commencement of the construction work this time last year. I pay tribute to the work of the contractor and our wider estates team for getting us to this point and for the continued support of the Department.
“SRC has more than 31,000 annual enrolments and this new campus, coupled with ongoing capital work in Armagh and planned work in Craigavon, will enable us to further improve the standard of education provision and deliver to our learners.”