Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


First sod cut as college building gets underway

Robert McCalister, Mark Lowry, John Cooper, George McClure, John Clarke and John Ferguson of Farrans with Lisburn Mayor James Tinsley and Eric Munro Project Manager South Eastern Regional College. US1908-121A0

THE construction phase of the new �25 million education facilities for the South Eastern Regional College in Lisburn officially got underway this week when Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, performed the official sod cutting ceremony.

Speaking at the event, the Minister said: "This is a significant milestone in the development of the much needed educational accommodation for the people of the Lisburn. "This development will allow the College to continue to deliver first class education and training to the local areas.

"Skills, together with enterprise, infrastructure, research and development, are the key drivers of our economic vision for Northern Ireland. Of these, skills development presents the greatest challenge, but offers the greatest potential for improvement. If skills, or the lack of skills, is the problem, then Further Education must play a critical role in the solution."

Paul Givan, Lisburn Mayor James Tinsley, Edwin Poots, Brian Acheson Chairman of Governing Body, Tom Plaice South Eastern Regional College acting principal and Tom Redmond Department of Employment and Learning at the Cutting of the sod for the Lisburn Campus. US1908-119A0 Sir Reg Empey, Lisburn Mayor James Tinsley and Tom Plaice South Eastern Regional College acting principal cutting the first sod at the new Lisburn Campus. US1908-119A0

The building work will take three years to complete with the Lisburn Campus becoming available in April 2010.

Sir Reg continued: "Given the constraints of the current financial climate, this investment is testimony to the commitment of my Department to provide a Further Education infrastructure equipped to meet the needs of a modern vibrant economy."

College Acting Principal and Chief Executive. Mr Torn Place, said: "This investment marks the key role which South Eastern Regional College will play in the future of the local economy. With enhanced facilities in which to deliver a high quality learning experience the College is committed to the success of individual learners and the businesses which employ them."

Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Edwin Poots MLA welcomed the commencement of the development. He said it had been "long awaited" but stressed the college must "look to develop new opportunities" in association with the new building and has to see "closer links with universities to develop accredited courses which would fulfil part of the requirements for degrees."

"While this is the case already for some courses there are significant opportunities to extend this," he explained.

Ulster Star