The TUS campus in Athlone

New TUS apprenticeship facility will double capacity at Athlone campus

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD, are in Athlone today (Wednesday) to launch two new initiatives which will enhance the educational opportunities available for students across the Midlands.

Minister Harries opened a new apprenticeship facility which will enable TUS to double their craft apprenticeship delivery capacity at the Midlands campus and will help support the Government's Housing For All strategy.

Meanwhile, Minister Humphreys launched a new Government initiative called ‘Learning in the Hubs’ which is being rolled out initially in the Midlands under a strategic partnership between Connected Hubs and the Technology University of the Shannon (TUS).

The pilot initiative is targeted at adult learners and will see students carry out course work and attend classes in a group setting at a Connected Hubs facility. 11 Connected Hubs which are regionally dispersed across the counties of Longford, Westmeath, Laois, Offaly, Galway and Roscommon will take part and, as part of today's announcement, Minister Humphrey's outlined that two programmes will take place exclusively in these hubs:

• Certificate in Business in Entrepreneurship (Level 6) - the objective being to support potential entrepreneurs, start-ups and others locally with an interest in the world of entrepreneurship;

• Bachelor of Business (Hons) (Level 8) degree programme with plans to widen participation in third-level education through general business.

The opening of the expanded Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Midlands Apprenticeship Facility in Athlone by Minister Simon Harris today means that 720 craft apprentices can be trained there annually across Motor, Heavy Goods Vehicle and Plumbing trades and will also allow TUS to train electrical apprentices for the first time.

Apprentices will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, workshops and classrooms specifically designed for their training needs, Minister Harris told the launch.

Minister Harris described the expansion as "a really exciting development for apprenticeship delivery" and said the Government has placed "an unrelenting focus" on the delivery of apprenticeships across the country, and added that "it is working and more people are signing up than ever before."

“That means we need bigger and better facilities. I want to thank TUS for having the vision and commitment to invest and co-fund this significant expansion of apprenticeship training in the midlands region. This will double apprenticeship delivery here in the Midlands and expand the number of programmes too.£

TUS Athlone received €2.3 million for the expanded facility, which was completed in Quarter 4 2022.

Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of TUS said the total provision of craft apprenticeships between TUS Athlone and TUS Moylish (the Limerick campus) is now at 1,392 apprentices per year.