County Wexford Chamber welcomes Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris’s commitment to delivering a Wexford campus as part of the new Technological University of the South East. The announcement is welcomed as it will bring people back to the local economy, communities, and businesses in County Wexford. The new Technological University will also provide further support to industries, greater innovation, and a larger variety of skills to businesses within County Wexford. This will build upon what has already been delivered to the region by WIT and ITC.
County Wexford Chamber is represented on the Technological University of South East Ireland (TUSEI) Regional Engagement advisory group which was established to secure and support the development of a University of international standing in and for the South East region. We are aware that a new single Governing Authority will be introduced and replace the existing one in both institutions.
In the 2016 Census, it was shown that only 33% of people in County Wexford had attended third level education. A new Technological University located in County Wexford would provide a greater opportunity for people to attend University, as it will not involve a commute or commitment to accommodation that adds to the expense of attending University.
The beneficial consequences of TUSE as a further extension of the present 3rd level facility will lead to greater skill development in County Wexford, which in turn will promote high quality jobs that boost the economy.
As Businesses often look to invest in areas with a highly educated workforce, it is incredibly important to consider the significant consequences that a University will have in County Wexford. An increase in the uptake of third level education would produce a highly skilled workforce which in turn, would attract business investment, create additional jobs, lead to enhanced entrepreneurship and innovation, and boost the local economy.
Minister Harris said that ‘The South East is the only region that doesn’t have a University. County Wexford has suffered in that regard. It’s suffered from a lack of foreign direct investment. Lack of investment in general. It’s suffered as a result of access to higher education.’
‘There’s a very solemn commitment that we are going to deliver a Wexford campus as part of this university. While there are negotiations going on, some things that are commercially sensitive, I just want to say on the record that we are going to deliver a Wexford campus.’
There is still a lot of planning and organisation to ensure that the process of creating a brand-new unitary body goes ahead, as it is a complex and detailed process. WIT and ITC will submit their joint application for the consideration to the Minister and the Education Authorities at the end of April 2021. Following the application submission, the Minister will consider the application and bring it before an International Review Panel. The panel will review the application and evaluate the plans put before them. Once the panel’s report is completed, it is hoped that the Minister will then approve the advancement by announcing the date for the establishment of the TUSE. The planned date for designation of the TUSE is the 1st of January 2022.