Two new degree programmes will be available in the Mid-West region from this September through a new pilot programme run by Limerick and Clare ETB and Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), as part of a National Tertiary Office pilot programme.
These “tertiary programmes” are courses that commence in an Education and Training Board (Limerick and Clare ETB) and continue in a university (TUS), culminating in the award of a degree.
Established by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Skills in a joint initiative between the Higher Education Authority and SOLAS, the National Tertiary Office (NTO) was tasked with the development of these new progressive pathways through further education to higher education. This partnership is central to the government’s vision of a unified tertiary education system.
In this proof-of-concept phase, there are 23 tertiary degree programmes commencing in September across 11 locations and different fields of provision including Business, ICT, Arts, Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction, and Health & Welfare.
In the Mid-West region, two such degree programmes will be on offer. A Bachelor of Business (Hons) Level 8 course will begin in the ETB’s College of FET Ennis Campus, with students progressing to complete the degree programme in TUS. Meanwhile, Year 1 of the Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mobile & Web Computing Level 8 course will be offered in the ETB’s College of FET Mulgrave Street Campus, with students moving to the TUS Moylish Campus to complete their degree programme.
Speaking at the launch last Friday, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said: “This is the single biggest transformation to education access in decades. Today, we launch 23 degree courses outside the points system. We know the points system has not worked for many of our young people. Today, we can tell the next generation of students they can access degrees in nursing, business, engineering, and media without ever engaging with the CAO system. This is the start. We have much more to do but today, we change the system and ensure the learner is at the heart of all we do. I want to thank the National Tertiary Office, the Higher Education Authority and SOLAS for their leadership in driving this forward.”
Limerick and Clare ETB and TUS said they were excited by the new opportunity for integrated access to education, providing a seamless transition from further education to higher education.
TUS Vice President for Academic Affairs and Registrar Terry Twomey said, “TUS and Limerick and Clare ETB are excited by the new opportunity for integrated access to education, providing a seamless transition from further education to higher education. These pilot programmes will provide new pathways to higher education for students from across the region. TUS is committed to providing relevant high-quality education in both traditional and flexible ways to cater to a diverse cohort of students across the region. New pathways to Higher Education are about ensuring everyone’s potential can be realised and all individuals in our region can be provided with equal opportunities thereby positively impacting the individual, their family, communities and region as a whole.”
Limerick and Clare ETB Director of Further Education and Training Paul Patton said, “Creating partnerships that work to provide access, seamless transitions and progression opportunities for FET students is a key priority of the ETB’s 4-year FET Strategic Framework. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in that strategy and underlines the key role of FET in the Tertiary Education landscape of the region. Through this close collaboration with TUS on the development and shared delivery of these tertiary programmes, students will be provided with a seamless transition from FET into Higher Education and a clearly-defined learner pathway right through to professional practice.”
Students interested in pursuing a degree through the new tertiary routes in 2023 should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, applicants should visit the National Tertiary Office website (www.nto.ie) where students may apply for any of the 23 programmes on offer this September. For the eligibility criteria and course specific entry requirements, please refer to the course information section on the NTO website. General enquiries may be addressed to the NTO and course specific queries should be directed to the relevant Tertiary Coordinator as listed on the website.
A wider offering of collaborative tertiary courses is in planning for 2024.