College of Further Education hopeful of College Street move

Waterford College of Further Education (WCFE) is hopeful that it will secure a long-mooted move to the College Street campus currently occupied by WIT’s School of Humanities.
Speaking at the launch of its ambitious Three Year Strategic Plan at the Tower Hotel on Friday last, College Principal Gerard Morgan said the move to College Street would represent a “natural step for us to take”.
“We need to improve our existing campus but we have probably outgrown our own building on Parnell Street,” he stated. “We either need to extend it or move. There’s a lot of background work going on in relation to College Street, and I was encouraged by some of the comments made by Minister Halligan this morning. But hopefully there will be further developments on this sooner rather than later as I know it’s a move which students and staff alike would greatly welcome.”

At the launch of the Waterford College of Further Education Strategic Plan 2017-2020 by John Halligan, TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development were, seated from left: Gerard Morgan (Principal, WCFE), Minister John Halligan and Cllr Jim Moore (Chair, WWETB). Back row from left: Kevin Lewis (CEO, WWETB), Ken Whyte (EO, WWETB), Cllr Lola O'Sullivan, Gerald Hurley (CEO, Waterford Chamber) and Mark Fitzgerald (WCFE Board). 	| Photos: Aileen Drohan

At the launch of the Waterford College of Further Education Strategic Plan 2017-2020 by John Halligan, TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development were, seated from left: Gerard Morgan (Principal, WCFE), Minister John Halligan and Cllr Jim Moore (Chair, WWETB). Back row from left: Kevin Lewis (CEO, WWETB), Ken Whyte (EO, WWETB), Cllr Lola O'Sullivan, Gerald Hurley (CEO, Waterford Chamber) and Mark Fitzgerald (WCFE Board). | Photos: Aileen Drohan


Regarding College Street, Minister of State John Halligan said that the Department of Education is committed to funding a new Engineering building at WIT, “and that’s part of the €200 Public Private Partnership model, so the possibility of relocating the Humanities Department and other activities at WIT’s College Street Campus on the Cork Road is also under review – and my Department and I myself have been speaking to officials, along with Ger and many others on this over the past few weeks, and as part of agreeing the finance, scale and scope of the project, the outcome of that, I can guarantee, will be known in a couple of weeks.” A move to College Street would also facilitate student numbers swelling to as much as 2000 – there were 1300 full-time and part-time students on the books last year.

As for the report, which he described as “hugely significant”, Minister Halligan said it “provided the basis for a progressive and innovative movement for Further Education in Waterford.”
He added: “The vision for Further Education and Training (FET) in Ireland is to achieve a recognised, world-class integrated education system that provides quality provision to all learners while supporting economic development and active social inclusion. Waterford College of Further Education’s Strategic Plan reflects those priorities that the FET sector is striving to achieve and will assist in adapting to the anticipated changes in labour market needs, technological changes and social progression in Waterford and the south east in the coming years.”

Members of the WCFE Student Council pictured at the launch of the Waterford College of Further Education Strategic Plan. From left: Kevin Burke, Aoife Flynn and Elizabeth Lahart. Back row: Richie Nugent; Jim Fannan; Martina Brennan (Chair) and Emil Kosinski (Vice-Chair).

Members of the WCFE Student Council pictured at the launch of the Waterford College of Further Education Strategic Plan. From left: Kevin Burke, Aoife Flynn and Elizabeth Lahart. Back row: Richie Nugent; Jim Fannan; Martina Brennan (Chair) and Emil Kosinski (Vice-Chair).


The new plan specifies expansion in a number of key areas including the number of courses offered, infrastructure, curriculum delivery, e-learning, student support, positive work environment and engagement with key stakeholders in the South East region. The Plan is the culmination of a year of consultation with students, staff and WCFE’s many stakeholders across the South East.
Waterford and Wexford Education Training Board Chief Executive Kevin Lewis congratulated described WCFE as a, “beacon of light” and the “largest provider of Further Education in the South East”.
He outlined the challenges facing education in 2017 and the importance of “responsiveness” when dealing with students, stakeholders and the employment sector.
Mr Lewis said that there was “tremendous cohesion” between the WCFE Strategic Plan and what the WWETB were focusing on both globally and locally.
WCFE tutors Peggy O'Shea and Maria Hayes at the launch of the WCFE strategic Plan on Friday alast

WCFE tutors Peggy O'Shea and Maria Hayes at the launch of the WCFE strategic Plan on Friday alast


He stated: “This is the real challenge now, we take the words and now we start putting it into place and that is a really big challenge, but we have to set out that maxim that we’re here for a purpose, to encourage our learners in any way that we can.”
Echoing those sentiments, WWETB Chair Jim Moore commented: “We are charged with a particular challenge, in a time of challenges, and a time of opportunity and excitement. The learning environment, as outlined in this plan, will prove critical when dealing with future challenges. I believe that this plan gives focus, direction and energy for the College to realise all the opportunities that lie ahead and to face future challenges with confidence.”

The launch was attended by key figures in education and training in the South East including Minister Halligan and senior members of the Waterford Wexford Education Training Board, along with City & County Councillor Lola O’Sullivan (FG).
WCFE accommodated 878 full-time students last year, as well as 400 part-time and night students.
It also runs 60 accredited programmes and is the only dedicated College of Further Education in the WWETB area.
It enjoyed a 95 per cent success rate in the latest Student Destination Survey, meaning that 95 per cent of WCFE graduates went on to either direct employment, or further/ higher education.

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