31/01/2002

Catering College merger consultation launched

The Department for Employment and Learning has announced that the proposed merger of the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College (NIHCC) at Portrush with the University of Ulster (UU) is being put out for public consultation.

As the smallest specialist further education college in Northern Ireland, the merger proposal was put forward by the Hotel and Catering College as a means of securing its future position within the tertiary education sector. The proposal has received the full endorsement of both the Governing Body of the College and the Council of the University.

The benefits of the proposed merger include the further development of a centre of excellence in hospitality and tourism and the achievement of a much sharper focus on the hospitality and tourism sector as a whole.

Mrs Carmel Hanna, Minister for Employment and Learning, said: “A number of contrasting views have already been expressed publicly about the proposed merger. I cannot overemphasise the importance of all interested parties, those in the community and in the industry, which will be directly affected by this change, to register their views with my Department.

“As Minister responsible for ensuring that the correct outcome is achieved, I want to ensure that the widest range of interests are consulted before any proposal proceeds.

“Without these views we cannot truly gauge the impact of this proposal on the industry and prospective students throughout Northern Ireland who wish to specialise in the hospitality and tourism sector.”

Copies of the consultation document can be obtained on the Departmental website www.delni.gov.uk or by telephoning 028 9025 7753. (AMcE)

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