DfE’s £85m investment in college campus projects will boost economy: Dodds

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said the construction of a new £40million campus for the Northern Regional College (NRC) was a significant boost to the economy at a very challenging time.

New £40million campus for the Northern Regional College
New £40million campus for the Northern Regional College

The Minister was speaking following the appointment of Heron Bros. Ltd. as the lead contractor to build the new NRC Coleraine campus.

Funded by the Department, the development of the new state-of-the-art campus forms part of a wider £85million capital investment programme for NRC in Coleraine and Ballymena. The project team has undertaken a significant amount of work to date, with the support of the Department, to bring these projects through the design stages.

It is anticipated that over 100 construction jobs will be created with approximately 300 sustained during the building phase of the Coleraine project alone. Along with these full-time jobs, over 1,000 weeks of training will be provided for new apprentices across a range of construction related trades.

The Minister also recently granted approval to proceed with the tender process for construction of the new Ballymena campus at Farm Lodge. Combined these projects will deliver a significant transformation to accommodation, curriculum provision and will significantly rationalise delivery across the catchment area for Northern Regional College.

The Minister said: “I am delighted to be able to support these vital Further Education projects that will enable Northern Regional College to deliver a modern, economically focused curriculum in new state of the art facilities at Coleraine and Ballymena. This £85million investment by my Department will provide a significant boost to the economy at a very challenging time, sustaining hundreds of construction related jobs and ultimately enabling the delivery of quality training and skills essential to economic recovery.”

The Minister added: “Further Education plays a key role in building a skilled workforce and supporting economic development and recovery. These projects, along with my Department’s ongoing investment across the sector, will ensure that colleges are well equipped to continue delivering for learners, business and wider society into the future.”

Professor Terri Scott, Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College, said: “Our new Coleraine campus will result in a world-class learning environment, enabling the delivery of training, skills and transformational education not only for our students, but for the wider local community.

“We are working closely with the local business and industry sectors to determine the skills needs which will drive economic growth, sustain and produce new jobs and opportunities for the people of the area. In the coming years there will be many exciting opportunities.”

The new four-storey Coleraine campus will be located on an extended site in Union Street. It will feature a fully integrated entrance to Anderson Park, enabling the park to be re-vitalised as an active, welcoming and safe outdoor space and facilitating strong links to the town centre.

The College successfully relocated over the summer to Beresford Avenue in Coleraine, where it has maintained curriculum delivery at a modified former secondary school building.

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