Education minister Richard Bruton.
A new cross-border agreement in education, training and innovation for the north west has been signed.
The North West Strategic Growth Partnership, in partnership with the Higher and Further Education and training institutions of the North West City Region, has announced a new agreement in education, training and innovation for the North West City Region with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between education sector providers on both sides of the border.
The MoU is the result of years of successful collaborative working amongst the education sector providers – the Ulster University, Letterkenny Institute for Technology (LYIT), North West Regional College (NWRC) and Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) - with the aim of improving access to higher and further level education and training to students living and studying in the North West City region.
The North West City Region is comprised of the administrative area of Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The North West Strategic Growth Partnership is led by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council and supported by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD) in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and The Irish Government.
The Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D. was at today’s signing and endorsed this historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
“Today’s announcement is a fantastic development for the north west region,” he said. “This new partnership will greatly enhance collaboration between the education and training providers in key areas such as research, innovation and education and training.
“Brexit will pose a significant challenge to our higher and further education institutions. Through our Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland’s education system the best in Europe within a decade, we are preparing our education and training providers to respond to this challenge. Talent drives the success of any region and strong hubs will be the engine of regional development. Today’s partnership is a very welcome development, which will have a really significant impact on the North West region.”
An Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Gerry McMonagle said the signing of the MoU was hugely significant for the region.
“The MoU builds on the excellent collaborative work previously undertaken between the partners to support regional growth through delivering on the higher and further education needs of the North West. It will allow the partners to work together as anchors of the economy of the region and contribute to the advancement of the North West City Region growth agenda that investments in higher and further education can achieve with added value for everyone.”
Government minister and Donegal TD Joe McHugh, said: “Today’s announcement is of great significance to the region, and creating cross-border education alliance is vital to releasing the potential of the North West.
“This new agreement being signed this morning will work on previous work undertaken by the institutions and will consolidate this collaboration, and is a further commitment to establishing a strategic alliance between the education providers north and south of the border.
“This will improve access to third level education and training to students living and studying in the North West City region.”
Paul Hannigan, President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology said the alignment of a cross border further and higher education cluster in the North West City region is essential if the region is to grow and develop its education offering and maximise the emerging potential for those who wish to live, work and invest in this region.
“The signing of the MoU between the education providers in the region is very significant and is testament to the huge amount of positive work that has been done behind the scenes to really look at how we can develop education, research and innovation foundations for the North West region.”