Drogheda Implementation Board welcome the announcement by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, on Monday 5th September, of the allocation of over €4.5 million to Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) under the Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund for capital works at Drogheda Institute of Further Education (DIFE). Minister Harris made the announcement on a visit to DIFE on which was attended by senior members of the LMETB team and Drogheda Implementation Board. Minister Harris said “I am delighted to be here in DIFE today for this really important, multi-million Euro announcement, in the expansion of this brilliant College of Further Education. This significant capital programme will extend capacity at Drogheda Institute of Further Education through the development of a new flexible multi-purpose tertiary education facility which will include community accessible spaces. The new facility will enable greater opportunities for more integrated planning and delivery locally and regionally. Importantly this is a key response to the Geiran Report on Drogheda – which set out an ambition to “Create a bridge to a Better Future” for Drogheda.”
The funding supports the development of a purpose-built, multifunctional and stand-alone facility to include instruction space for pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and traineeship provision; a tertiary education block; and the provision of new changing facilities in close proximity to previously developed all-weather pitches at the college. Speaking at the announcement Martin O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer of LMETB, and member of the Drogheda Implementation Board, said
“The new accommodation in DIFE will allow LMETB to facilitate the delivery of tertiary education programmes in Drogheda, providing opportunities to progress to Third Level education courses locally, a key recommendation in the Geiran Report. It will also build on and expand capacity to deliver labour market led programmes – particularly traineeships and apprenticeships – and provide year-round learning options to reskill and upskill learners in the region. The new changing facilities will enhance access for the broader community to DIFE facilities during and after college hours as well as facilitating the growth and development of DIFE sports and leisure and coaching programmes.
In LMETB we pride ourselves on delivering 5-star education and training buildings for our learners; this development will build on the significant work done by Davy McDonnell and his team in DIFE over the past number of years. We thank Minister Harris and the team in SOLAS for this infrastructural investment in Drogheda which will further enable LMETB and DIFE to meet not only the labour demands but also the needs of learners and communities in the greater Drogheda region.”
Also speaking at the announcement in DIFE, Michael Keogh, Chair of the Drogheda Implementation Board noted
“At our February meeting the Board agreed to lend our full support to LMETB in seeking funding for this development so we are delighted that they have been successful in their application. The development of this facility aligns to many of the recommendations made by Vivien Geiran in his Scoping Report into Community Safety and Wellbeing in Drogheda including prioritising the development of a sports and community changing/meeting block at DIFE; provision of third level education opportunities in Drogheda; the development of more apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programmes; and enhancing access to existing facilities for local communities. We would like to recognise the efforts of Martin O’Brien and his DIFE, Land and Buildings and Further Education teams in submitting this application which was a challenging and competitive process, and has resulted in a significant positive outcome for Drogheda”.
It is anticipated that the project will be delivered in two phases, with phase one, a multifunctional facility providing instruction spaces for pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and traineeship along with the much-needed changing rooms, to be completed within the next year. Phase two will consist of the development of tertiary education rooms adjoining the main multipurpose building.