15 New Hi-Tech Jobs created in Tyrone and Fermanagh

South West College today announced the creation of 15 new high-tech graduate and post-graduate technology jobs. These new jobs will be located with the recently established College ‘InnoTech’ Centre. This Centre represents a significant expansion within the College in the capacity to deliver technology and innovation support and drive forward the development of industry linked Research and Development.

Support for the establishment of the ‘InnoTech’ centre and had been provided by the Department for Employment and Learning through the Innovation Fund, Employer Support Programme. This programme has been developed to ensure that the FE sector has the capacity and expertise to deliver the workforce skills required by the economy and to enable the FE sector to support industry and entrepreneurial activity in priority sectors.

South West College currently occupies a unique position as a driver for innovation in a range of specialist areas including engineering, quarrying, sustainable development and renewable technologies. The College holds a strong track record of working with and supporting local business. This is achieved through delivery of projects which bring innovative technological and management solutions to industrial problems and assist the uptake of modern product design. A range of technical support services are offered to industry which continue to deliver best practice in current design and manufacturing technology. These include technical consultancy for new and improved product development, the provision of design prototyping and re-engineering facilities, materials testing, and the provision of continuing professional development training. In the last three years the College has experience of managing innovation and economic development programmes in excess of £2 million.

The new ‘InnoTech’ Centre within South West College will extend the international reach of the College through the development of collaborative partnerships with the Institutes of Technology in Ireland and International Colleges and Research Institutes. The InnoTech Centre will expand on existing areas of specialism (environmental sustainability, engineering, product design and prototyping) and provide a new focus in the priority skills areas of ICT, software and electronics. The Centre will also aim to promote the STEM agenda within the Northern Ireland and increase the number of students studying courses in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through the design and development of innovative awareness raising activities aimed at schools.

Commenting on the new investment, Malachy McAleer Head of Curriculum and Business Development added:

‘The economy of Northern Ireland is rapidly evolving from traditional primary industries and established manufacturers to a more knowledge-based environment. This transition has been facilitated by support for foreign direct investment and enterprise at national level. However, in order for the regional economy to remain globally competitive, there is a need to continue to support indigenous SMEs to adopt knowledge and technology in order to increase innovation, competitiveness and sustainability’.

He continued

‘The new InnoTech Centre in the College will directly support industry through the provision of dedicated FE staff recruited specifically to work on technology development projects in Sustainability, Design and Electronics & Software. These employees will establish new links between the College and industry to encourage and assist companies to incorporate the latest technologies into their businesses. By also having InnoTech staff actively working with international Colleges and international industry the Centre will import knowledge from outside NI to boost indigenous industry and also establish links for possible inward investment’.