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DkIT Welcomes Cross-Border Education Alliance with Southern Regional College

08 October 2018

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) welcomes Southern Regional College (SRC) as the first Northern Ireland partner to join the North East Further and Higher Education Alliance (NEFHEA). SRC was officially inaugurated to the Alliance today by the Minister for State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD at a meeting in its Newry campus.

NEFHEA is a regional higher and further education initiative comprising institutions in the North East region. Underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding, its members are committed to working together to promote access, transfer and progression between further and higher education providers in the North Leinster-South Ulster region. Its membership includes Southern Regional College, Drogheda Institute of Further Education, Monaghan Institute, Cavan Institute, O'Fiaich College and Dunboyne College of Further Education.

First established in 2007 by DkIT, today’s NEFHEA convening is the first ever held in Northern Ireland, signaling a new cross-border direction for the Alliance. Welcomed by Southern Regional College’s Chief Executive, Mr. Brian Doran, and the Alliance Chairman and President of Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dr Michael Mulvey, the Minister met members of the Alliance to listen to the plans for further collaboration and to discuss a number of challenges faced by the sector as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. 

Addressing the members, Minister Mitchell O’ Connor said

‘I commend the foresight of the CEO of SRC, Mr. Brian Doran, in joining the Alliance., I am confident that the joint expertise, supports, and synergy will enhance student learning, retention and progression across the region. What is so exciting about this venture, is the vision to retain skilled talent in the region, both North and South of the border, delivering job ready graduates for the local industries, for greater economic benefit across the region.’

Dr Mulvey added:

“We welcome Southern Regional College’s contribution to the Alliance and we thank the Minister supporting for the initiative. As a cross-border Institution, it is important that NEFHEA is representative of the Higher and Further Education landscape that we serve in our region of North Leinster-South Ulster. We look forward to working more closely with SRC and other partners to provide relevant and accessible pathways for students who wish to pursue higher education opportunities from Degree to PhD level across a variety of disciplines. A more connected education system for learners will help us retain skilled talent in our region and deliver a greater economic, cultural and social impact for communities north and south.”

Mr. Doran also commented,

“I am delighted to welcome the Irish Minister for Higher Education to Southern Regional College. Organisations including our local Councils and Chambers of Commerce and Trade have a long history of collaboration and partnership on a cross border basis and the work of the Alliance is a further manifestation of the strong ties that exist between us. I have every confidence that the work of the group will further enhance the tangible representation of the close social, cultural, economic and educational links within the region. Despite the uncertainties emanating from Westminster on the post BREXIT position it is more important than ever for us all to work together to strengthen our ties and to seek new opportunities irrespective of the outcome of the EU and UK negotiations.”

NEFHEA is committed to working in partnership to share best practice across respective institutions, support the continuing professional development of staff and to explore and promote progression and articulation arrangements between respective educational institutions.

DkIT has established strong links in Northern Ireland though ongoing industry engagement and research collaboration. The Institute leads a series of ground-breaking cross-border research projects such as €7.7 million EU-funded BREATH project (Border and Regions Airways Training Hub), a pioneering cross-border research project with Queen’s University Belfast and University of the West of Scotland (UWS) designed to better understand and alleviate the impact of lung disease on the border regions of Ireland and Scotland. DkIT is an active partner on the InterTradeIreland’s FUSION programme, a technology transfer and innovation programme involving cross-border collaboration between companies north and south and third-level institutions.

Photos: Ciara Wilkinson

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