“A landmark day for Drogheda…soon to be Ireland’s next city.”
Just some of the positive words for the region from Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science & Justice, performing the official opening of the Craft Skills Training Hub at Louth Meath ETB Drogheda College of the Future, Drogheda College, Donore Campus.
The joyous news for the town, and the young men and women who are starting their careers at the college, was tempered with sadness, as the Minister paid tribute to the four young people who lost their lives in Clonmel, pausing for a minute’s silence with the rest of the invited guests.
With 112 electrician apprentices already undergoing training, the opening of the hub will allow the college to provide training for over 300 apprentices each year, with three intakes during the year, and see an overall investment of €4.2m and create 20 jobs.
“Today we are following through on our promise, investing in our young people and sparking their interest in the careers on offer here in electrical trades and more,” said Minister Harris at the launch. “I am particularly delighted with this facility, considering that a key recommendation of the Geiran Report in January 2021 was the requirement for more apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programmes in Drogheda. This is exactly what is being delivered here, and all in a state-of-the-art facility.”
He said the Hub represents more than a capital and educational service investment in Drogheda. As well as instructor jobs at the facility, other support positions are in place. This will lead to up to 20 permanent jobs in Drogheda.
“We’re here in the opening of this building to send a message to the people of Drogheda that this building should be seen as a symbol of hope and investment, that this building is based on the recommendations of the Geiran report, that Drogheda and the Northeast can’t get left behind and the key to ensuring economic and social cohesion and well being in an area is access to education and training.
And the fact that now we are in this town – soon to be city – with opportunities for education and training, really speaks to that.”
At the opening ceremony, the Minister was joined by Martin O’Brien, chief executive of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB), Sadie Ward McDermott, director of Further Education and Training (FET), Philip Sheridan, manager, Drogheda College, Alanah Kirk, assistant manager, Drogheda College, David McDonnell, principal of Drogheda Institute of Further Education (DIFE), other senior members of the LMETB Board and invited guests.
Local TDs and counsellors were also present, with Deputy Fergus O’Dowd welcoming the facility to the region.
“We want Drogheda to be a national destination for apprenticeships and under the leadership of the Chief Executive of the LMETB, Martin O’Brien, we will continue to work with Minister Harris to make this target a reality,” said Deputy O’Dowd.
“This new facility located at the Prism Building in the Drogheda IDA Business and Technology Park on the Donore Road which will see over €4.2m of state investment over the coming years has already taken its first intake of apprentices over the summer, with an annual target expected of 400 apprentices.”
Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) is the first ETB to establish an innovative FET centre uniquely dedicated at this time to the delivery of electrical apprenticeship training in Ireland.
“Drogheda College will be of enormous benefit to the young people of Louth and Meath and surrounding counties in addition to stimulating business development further in this region,” said Martin O’Brien, chief executive of LMETB.
“A very historic and fantastic day for Drogheda and we are so lucky to have such a facility in our town,” added local Cllr Paddy McQuillan. “A massive congratulations to all who made this happen. A special mention needs to go out to the Drogheda Implementation Board and LMETB for their commitment to the development of our town”.
Drogheda College is housed in a 2,170 sq. metre two storey standalone building occupying a strategic location north of Dublin with rapid access to the M1 corridor and close to local facilities in Drogheda. It will deliver eight separate electrical programmes delivered by a team of instructing staff.