Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD officially opened the Craft Skills Training Hub at Louth Meath ETB Drogheda College of the Future, Donore Campus.
The opening of the hub will allow the college to provide training for over 300 apprentices each year with three intakes during the year.
This is a significant investment and expansion in apprenticeship training in the Louth-Meath area in key craft areas, such as electrical trades.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Harris said, “we know we have skills shortages in this country, but today is another important step on the road to addressing that challenge. We are following through on our promise, investing in our young people and sparking their interest in the careers on offer here in electrical trades and more.”
“This facility will make a valuable contribution to the availability of skilled workers in the construction industry, helping to achieve the ambition set out in the Government’s Housing for All plan. I am particularly delighted with this facility, considering that a key recommendation of the Geiran Report in January 2021 was the requirement for more apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programmes in Drogheda. This is exactly what is being delivered here, and all in a state-of-the-art facility.”
The Hub represents more than a capital and educational service investment in Drogheda. As well as instructor jobs at the facility, other support positions are in place. This will lead to up to 20 permanent jobs in Drogheda.
Further indirect jobs will be created as the apprentices will need to avail of accommodation, services, and hospitality. It is anticipated that this facility will bring up to 450 additional visitors to Drogheda each year.
Chief executive, Louth Meath Education and Training Board, Martin O’Brien said, “LMETB is extremely proud to be the first ETB to establish an innovative FET centre uniquely dedicated at this time to the delivery of electrical apprenticeship training in Ireland. LMETB acknowledges and thanks Minister Simon Harris and his officials from the Department of Further and Higher Education Research Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) and SOLAS management for their support and investment in this unique concept.”
“Drogheda College will be of enormous benefit to the young people of Louth and Meath and surrounding counties in addition to stimulating business development further in this region. I especially want to thank my team in LMETB for their hard work and dedication in the submission of our successful bid and then transforming this building into a reality in a 16-week construction period. We hope that our FET centre is a model that may be utilised by other training boards.”
Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said, “the opening of the new FET College of the Future apprenticeship training hub in Drogheda is a significant development for learners and communities in the Louth-Meath region, but also an important milestone in the evolution of FET facilities and provision nationwide.”
“The apprenticeship training programmes provided at Donore Campus by Louth Meath ETB will be essential in addressing skills gaps in the construction industry and in realising the Government’s Housing for All plan. A warm congratulations to my colleagues in LMETB and all of the apprentices that will receive their training in this new cutting edge facility.”
Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB), working in partnership with employers, industry partners, SOLAS and the Department of Further and Higher Education Research Innovation and Science successfully secured support and permission for this innovative response to address the urgent need for craft apprentices.