Southern Regional College welcomed Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Irish Minister for Higher Education to its Newry Campus. The Minister attended a meeting for the North East Further and Higher Education Alliance (NEFHEA), being hosted by SRC, the first Northern Ireland partner to join the Alliance. SRC was officially inaugurated to the Alliance by the Minister.
Brian Doran, Chief Executive – Southern Regional College (SRC), Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Irish Minister for State for Higher Education, Dr Michael Mulvey, President – Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKiT)
NEFHEA is a major regional higher and further education initiative comprising higher and further education institutions in the North East region. Its members include Southern Regional College, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Drogheda Institute of Further Education, Monaghan Institute, Cavan Institute, O'Fiaich College and Dunboyne College of Further Education. The Alliance aims to enhance the roles of respective educational institutions within the cross-border region and bolster the influence that can be brought to bear for the mutual benefit of the entire cross-border community.
Welcomed by Southern Regional College’s Chief Executive, Mr. Brian Doran, and the Alliance Chairman and President of Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dr Michael Mulvey, the Minister met members of the Alliance to listen to the plans for further collaboration and to discuss a number of challenges faced by the sector as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Doran said, “I am delighted to welcome the Irish Minister for Higher Education to Southern Regional College. Organisations including our local Councils and Chambers of Commerce and Trade have a long history of collaboration and partnership on a cross border basis and the work of the Alliance is a further manifestation of the strong ties that exist between us. I have every confidence that the work of the group will further enhance the tangible representation of the close social, cultural, economic and educational links within the region. Despite the uncertainties emanating from Westminster on the post BREXIT position, it is more important than ever for us all to work together to strengthen our ties and to seek new opportunities irrespective of the outcome of the EU and UK negotiations.”
Dr Mulvey commented, “A key objective of NEFHEA is promote access, transfer and progression between further and higher education in the region and we warmly welcome Southern Regional College (SRC) as the first education partner to join the alliance from Northern Ireland. As a leading Higher Education Institute located on the border, we have an increasing number of students applying from Northern Ireland, in particular from counties Down and Armagh. We look forward to working more closely with SRC to provide relevant and accessible pathways for students who wish to pursue higher education opportunities from Degree to PhD level across a variety of disciplines. A more connected education system for learners will help us retain skilled talent in our region and deliver a greater economic, cultural and social impact for communities north and south.”
Addressing the members, Minister Mitchell O’ Connor said, “I commend the foresight of the CEO of SRC, Mr. Brian Doran, in joining the Alliance. I am confident that the joint expertise, supports and synergy will enhance student learning, retention and progression across the region. What is so exciting about this venture is the vision to retain skilled talent in the region, both north and south of the border, delivering job-ready graduates for the local industries, for greater economic benefit across the region.”
Formed in 2007 the NEFHEA is committed to working in partnership to share best practice across respective institutions, support the continuing professional development of staff and to explore and promote progression and articulation arrangements between respective educational institutions.