28/06/2006

Major Investment For East Antrim Institute

New training facilities at the Newtownabbey Campus of East Antrim Institute will help the college provide an improved service for its community and economy.

That was the message from Employment and Learning Minister, Maria Eagle, as she announced details of the £7.24million investment package.

The funding, which is supported by the Strategic Investment Programme to the tune of £5million, will enable the Institute to consolidate its teaching accommodation at Newtownabbey onto its main campus site.

Unveiling details of the new investment, the Minister said: "The provision of both new and refurbished training facilities at its Newtownabbey campus will help East Antrim Institute deliver its courses more effectively. It will also enable the Institute to develop sponsored training opportunities and additional income streams, as well as affording it the opportunity to enhance the quality of teaching and learning."

The Minister highlighted the current review of the Further Education (FE) sector, which underlines the key role colleges play in economic development by creating six larger and more influential colleges from the existing 16. As part of this change, East Antrim will merge with the North East and Causeway Institutes.

She said: "This announcement underscores the importance of the FE sector to the economy. The Review of FE envisages a sector that engages with its community and industry to ensure local business is provided with a highly skilled workforce, to help Northern Ireland become a world-class economy.

"The Newtownabbey campus has a vital role to play in servicing the needs of local industry and this investment will enhance its ability to be a key driver of economic development for many years to come."

The package will also enable the Institute to vacate sub-standard facilities at the nearby Felden Training Centre.

(CD/SP)

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