IT Carlow receives over €700,000 for additional places across seven of its newest courses

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Darren Hassett

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Institute of Technology Carlow is to receive €723,000 for 77 additional places across seven of its newest courses.

The announcement was made on Monday morning by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

The Minister released the results of the call for additional places on undergraduate courses under Pillar 2 of the Human Capital Initiative that will provide for almost 3,000 additional places on 138 courses, to commence in Autumn 2020 and 2021.

The seven courses at IT Carlow that will receive funding for additional places are: Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Creative Computing and Digital Innovation; Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Cybercrime and IT Security; Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing in Interactive Digital Art and Design; Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Brewing and Distilling ; Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing with Analytics; Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Digital Marketing with Analytics; Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering.

The Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Creative Computing and Digital Innovation is delivered at the Institute’s Wexford Campus; the remaining courses are delivered at the Carlow campus of IT Carlow.

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Patricia Mulcahy, President of Institute of Technology Carlow, said: "This morning’s announcement by Minister Mitchell O’Connor is a further endorsement of our newest courses at both Carlow and Wexford campuses.

"Institute of Technology Carlow prides itself on developing and providing an undergraduate course portfolio that is both diverse and relevant and, because we engage with a broad range of partners in industry, provides every opportunity for employability and career success."

The additional student places represent an allocation of over €24 million from the Human Capital Initiative, which is a key part of the Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent Pillar of Future Jobs Ireland.

They will address identified key areas of enterprise skills needs and are provided through increased and incentivised provision in full time undergraduate provision.

Places are on full award, full-time undergraduate courses at levels 6 to 8 on the NFQ in Higher Education Institutions. For each additional student provided under this pillar, €2,500 per year will be allocated to the institution in addition to the core grant.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: "Our people are our greatest resource and our greatest competitive advantage. Ensuring that young people are equipped with the right set of skills as they transition from education to the workforce is essential.

"At the time of year when students are deciding which courses to select for their CAO applications, I am delighted to be able to announce almost 3,000 additional places on 138 courses over the next two years.

"Courses included those in the areas of environmental sciences, ICT and engineering, allowing more students to take up places on courses that address key skills needs for the economy and the future."

The Minister also announced the opening of the Call for Proposals under Pillar 3 of the HCI. This pillar focuses on two key areas – innovation in modes and methods of delivery and an agility fund.

The innovation stream aims to ensure that courses in areas of skills needs demonstrate innovative methods of teaching and delivery, and the agility stream will enable higher education institutions and students to be in a position to respond to future developments in work, technology and society.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor added: "Pillar 3 of the HCI will incentivise continued reform and innovation in third level provision, building on best practice nationally and internationally, strongly supporting innovation in programme design and delivery.

"It is aimed at giving institutions the agility necessary to respond to developments in technology that may not yet be evident, and gives students the skills to adapt to a constantly changing world of work.

"I am sure that we will see many innovative and forward looking projects submitted under this call."

The primary objective of the Human Capital Initiative is to fund additional capacity across the higher education sector and to use that investment to meet priority skill needs for the future.

Announced as part of Budget 2019, the primary objective of the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) is to underpin the provision of additional capacity across the Higher Education Sector to meet priority skill needs for enterprise.

The special fund totals €300m over five years – €60m a year from 2020 to 2024.

The finance is being provided from the surplus in the National Training Fund (NTF) in line with recommendations contained in the independent review of the NTF on the use of the surplus and the development of labour market skills.