Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Questions (173)

Alan Dillon


173. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the future capital funding being provided to education and training board building and facility programmes with specific reference to the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board and the Mayo College of Further Education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27078/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

The current NDP provided for the first time a dedicated capital envelope for the further education and training (FET) sector. Expenditure increased from €5.5m in 2018 to €16.7m in 2020 with planned investment of €32.5m in 2021.

Expenditure of €16.7m in 2020, of which just over €1m was allocated to Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB), provided an opportunity to support a range of programmes including training and apprenticeship equipment to support new and modernised apprenticeship syllabi, a Devolved/Minor Works Grant to provide funding for minor capital projects and equipment renewal, the progression of 15 capital projects in the FET sector (two in MSLETB region), and an ICT grant to support disadvantaged students in the move to online and blended learning as a result of COVID-19. The two projects supported in the MSLETB region included a roof project at Achill Outdoor Education Centre and electrical upgrade works at Sligo Training Centre.

For 2021, approval has been conveyed to SOLAS in respect of the 2021 Devolved Grant (€8m) for the FET sector. In addition, approval issued in respect of the 2021 Apprenticeship Funding allocation (€10m). Other funding streams in 2021 will be allocated to priorities including emergency health and safety works, projects in the pipeline from 2020 and strategic opportunities.

MSLETB announced the development of Mayo College of Further Education and Training (CFET) on 23 March. Mayo CFET took effect from Monday 12 April 2021 and will facilitate 450 fulltime and 500 part-time learners across the two campuses in Castlebar and Westport. MSLETB informed my Department and SOLAS of these plans but there is no formal approval role for either body in relation to the institutional change.