29 March 2021
ETBs to receive €8 million Devolved Capital Allocation for improvement works for Further Education and Training (FET) provision
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD have today announced €8 million funding in further education capital grants for the country’s 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs).
The investment announced today of just over €8 million forms part of Project Ireland 2040 and will be provided via SOLAS for the delivery of small-scale and necessary infrastructure and improvement works, and for the purchase of equipment.
Under this funding programme, ETBs will be in a position to make decisions around small-scale FET investment priorities locally, and to ensure that projects can be advanced quickly and efficiently.
The grant also allows ETBs an opportunity to consider future accommodation needs and to procure professional expertise to conduct condition surveys of existing buildings, with a view to a strategic approach to estate planning and development.
In addition, funding has been provided for the introduction of emergency health and safety works programme and further detail will be announced in the coming days.
Minister Rabbitte welcomed the news saying:
Our communities are crying out for the opportunity to avail of further education and training, improve skillsets and be supported along the way. In my own constituency, I see it every week, with requests from constituents on how they can become part of an enhanced learning environment. I welcome this signal of intent from Minister Harris.
In announcing the programmes today, Minister Harris said:
This funding will support ETBs in progressing their plans for further education and training, while also addressing smaller scale improvement works in the near term.
The funding of €8 million announced today represents a 45% increase on the 2020 Devolved Capital Allocation and is a direct response to the significant needs of the sector.
The funding will also allow for the procurement of professional building surveys to inform longer-term plans.
In addition, with the introduction of the Emergency Health and Safety Works programme, ETBs can apply for funding to address immediate health and safety concerns arising in FET buildings.
It is also, I hope, a signal of intent of the importance of this sector for my new Department and a sign of the focus we intend to place on further education.
Minister Collins said:
The current National Development Plan, part of Project Ireland 2040, provided a dedicated capital envelope for the FET sector for the first time.
The Devolved Capital Allocation is a priority investment within this context because it assists the ETBs to carry out minor infrastructural improvement works, make small but important improvements across their estates, and to procure equipment, including ICT equipment. I am confident that these measures will support an enhanced learning environment within the sector.