Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, have announced significant investment to support the establishment of a new Film and Digital Media Centre of Excellence in Limerick.
This key project in Limerick forms part of a first phase of projects to be advanced under the national Further Education and Training (FET) Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund (SIUF).
Speaking about the announcement, Minister Harris said, “this marks another important day as we announce another key investment in regional further education and training provision. Earlier this year, while visiting Limerick, I announced the purchase of a property by Limerick Clare ETB at Mulgrave Street in Limerick City. I am pleased to announce that LCETB has received approval in principle to upgrade that building and to create a new Film & Digital Media Centre of Excellence.”
“This will allow the ETB to strengthen the links that already exist with “Film in Limerick” and local industries, as a leading provider of film and digital media education and training in the Mid-West region. This is a key milestone in the strategic development of further education provision in the region. I want to acknowledge the work of Limerick and Clare ETB in getting us to this stage. This investment announced today demonstrates their ongoing commitment to strengthening FET provision in Limerick and surrounding regions. This investment is part of a wider commitment to capital investment in tertiary education in Limerick, including a major electrical upgrade at the main Limerick College of Further Education building in Mulgrave St.”
“An applied science and IT building and significant engineering facilities are also being advanced for the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest. These investments demonstrate my government’s continuing support of, and commitment to, investment in third level education in the Limerick region.”
Minister Collins said, “this is another great day for this region, paving the way for delivering new training initiatives to help develop the local film sector and prepare aspiring and emerging filmmakers for employment in the screen industries.”
Funding for this project will be provided through SOLAS to LCETB. The project announced will now move forward to the appointment of a design team, with a view to development of a more detailed project brief in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
CEO of SOLAS, Andrew Brownlee, said, “Further Education & Training has a unique and special value both for learners and for our communities – and learners and communities in Limerick deserve cutting edge facilities and equipment. This announcement of capital funding is a welcome step that will mean that FET facilities there reflect the modern, dynamic nature of FET provision in 2022.”
“The ambitious scale of vision set out in the national FET strategy, Future FET: Transforming Learning, is being met by suitably ambitious investment. This funding will enable nationally coordinated and strategic action that will form the foundation of FET Colleges of the Future; greatly expand capacity; build up our national skills portfolio; strengthen pathways through and from FET; and most importantly, best serve the FET learners of today and tomorrow. This investment in capital is an investment in the future of FET – and most importantly, an investment in the future of the many learners in the Limerick and Clare region that it will directly benefit.”
George O Callaghan, Chief Executive of Limerick and Clare ETB said, “I welcome the significant announcement by the Minister. Limerick and Clare ETB is at the heart of developing the film and TV sector in the region and its work with Film in Limerick, Troy Studios and Screen Ireland has already allowed new entrants to train and upskill and gain employment on several studio and location productions.”
“Key to developing the sector is the need to bridge the gap from education to industry and the new space at Mulgrave Street will create a focus and mechanism to allow this to happen. Once developed, the Centre of Excellence is expected to accommodate approximately 250 course-specific learners, accommodated across several courses – Film & TV Production; Music Technology; Photography; Creative Digital Media; Animation and Computer Game Design.’’