A group on the steps of Plassey House
Sive Hannon and Volha Kaimasava who graduated with a Masters of Science in Supply Chain Operations from University of Limerick, pictured with UL President Professor Kerstin Mey and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD Picture: Sean Curtin True Media.
Thursday, September 1, 2022

University of Limerick is to receive significant funding from the Higher Education Authority ‘to support and recognise exceptional performance’.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, has today announced performance funding awards totalling €5 million to six higher education institutions in recognition of their positive performance in working towards national strategic objectives.

Each award is valued at €833,333 and are based on an evaluation of 18 Impact Case Studies submitted by higher education institutions to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in April of this year.

To secure the award, UL collaborated with industry consortia to successfully develop, expand, and deliver apprenticeships at higher NFQ levels, as part of the national Generation Apprenticeship project, including the world’s first apprenticeship at doctoral level.

The Generation Apprenticeship scheme at UL also recently celebrated the conferring of the first Masters Level Apprentices in Ireland.

UL’s winning case study was titled ‘Implementing Generation Apprenticeship at Levels 9 and 10 on the NFQ’. It demonstrated the contribution towards national strategic objectives set out in the Higher Education System Performance Framework.

Welcoming the awards, Minister Harris said: “It is vital that we recognise outstanding performance in higher education, and I would like to congratulate the successful institutions on their exceptional case study submissions.

“Together, these institutions are making a significant and lasting impact in Irish society, tackling key national issues such as domestic and gender-based abuse, the development of our natural energy resources, and opening new pathways into higher education for professional learners and under-represented groups.”

Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the HEA, commented: “I am delighted to see the success of these initiatives and the continuing commitment of our institutions to widening the reach and accessibility of higher education. I particularly commend the range of partnerships and networks forged across social and economic life, connecting the work and influence of higher education institutions with wider society. In recognising and supporting the public impact of institutions today, we are also gathering the learnings and experience that will inform the engaged initiatives of tomorrow.”

Speaking ahead of last week’s ceremony to mark the first students to graduate with Masters level apprenticeships from any education institute in the country, UL President Professor Kerstin Mey said: “Today’s first ever Irish apprenticeship Masters graduates are all highly valued experienced professionals who have now broadened and significantly augmented their skillset while continually working. They are very deserving of our praise.

“These graduates are significantly contributing to current or predicted skills gaps by growing their own in-house knowledge and talent with a combination of ‘on the job’ learning and formal studies.”

Also speaking at the ceremony, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD, said: “This is a proud day for UL, as the first university in Ireland to offer apprenticeships from degree to post-graduate level and a global trailblazer in the provision of apprenticeships at doctorate level. The message is loud and clear: apprenticeships are open for business and in more areas than you might think,” Minister Collins added.

The funding awards can be used to expand and progress existing initiatives or put towards new initiatives that contribute towards national strategic imperatives. Oversight of the funding awarded will be managed by the HEA. 

The successful case studies have been published on the HEA’s website

The UL apprenticeships programmes focus on structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in UL. It is a dual system - a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job training.

Participants can work their ways from NFQ Level 7 right up to Level 10 Doctorate. You can learn more about Apprenticeships here.