Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD gave the green light for a connected campus at TUS, Thurles Campus that will serve both further education students and higher education students in science, IT, Health and Wellbeing, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.
The Minister visited the Thurles Campus on Monday evening December 5, 2022, to make the announcement, having just hours earlier revealed that TUS’s Connected Campus partner, Tipperary Education and Training Board, was to proceed to the next phase of proposal development for a College of The Future in Clonmel.
This project proposes to develop the vacated military barracks site in Clonmel and create a college, which will host both further education students and TUS and higher education students.
Later that day, TUS was given the go-ahead under the Technological Sector Strategic Projects Fund to proceed to the next phase of proposal developments for a similar connected campus in Thurles that will also serve both further education students and higher education students.
Speaking at the announcements Minister Harris said, “This is a brilliant day for Tipperary. Clonmel has been chosen as one of ten locations to proceed to develop a further education College of the Future.
“These two investments will allow for an expansion of further and higher education in County Tipperary. In Clonmel and Thurles, the proposals each take a unified approach to third level. In Clonmel, the further education college of the future will accommodate higher education students alongside further education students while similarly in TUS, the expansion of the existing TUS building will include an integrated FET building attached directly to the TUS main building.
“The vision of Tipperary ETB and TUS is so welcomed and is the future of third level in this country. These developments, to be advanced under the Technological Strategic Projects Fund and Further Education and Training College of the Future Major Projects fund, will complement significant investment right across the technological sector and the further education and training sector.”
Speaking in Thurles President of TUS, Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “This announcement represents a new future for an integrated Further and Higher Education system in Ireland. The Thurles Connected Campus is the first if its kind and signifies the physical manifestation of the state’s policy ambitions. The project reflects a true partnership approach between TUS and Tipperary ETB but the ultimate winners in this are the students, who will experience a unique and fully integrated system.
“As a partner with Tipperary ETB in the Clonmel Campus of the Future project, we are fully committed to the interconnected future of the tertiary education system in Ireland. With these two projects, Tipperary is in now the vanguard of the new approach to tertiary education that is now becoming manifest.”
Speaking at the announcement in Clonmel, Chief Executive of Tipperary ETB, Bernadette Cullen said, “The announcement by Minister Harris today is very significant for further education and training and Higher Education in Clonmel, Thurles and across Tipperary. Today is an important day for Tipperary ETB and our partners TUS and Tipperary County Council. We really believe that the development of the College of the Future in Clonmel and the expansion of facilities in Thurles to include FET learners will provide a quality environment for FET and HE in Tipperary. As connected campuses, both Clonmel and Thurles will provide learners with a vibrant college experience in their own county.”
Meanwhile Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said, “Today’s announcement marks an important step forward for learners and communities in the Tipperary area, but also an important milestone in the evolution of FET facilities and provision nationwide.
“This College of the Future is part of a larger shift towards distinct, integrated colleges of FET around the country, which will serve as a beacons of community-based learning excellence.
“As we continue to deliver cutting edge campuses that showcase the very best of FET, we will start to change the hearts and minds of Irish society with regard to school-leaver and lifelong education options.
“A warm congratulations to my colleagues in Tipperary Education & Training Board and all of the potential learners in Tipperary and surrounding areas on what is an inspiring day for both the region and the sector.”