Economy Minister Simon Hamilton today met Ulster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon to discuss the university’s vision for higher education.
Speaking after the visit, the Minister said: “Our local universities have an important role to play in supporting Northern Ireland’s economic growth. If we are to remain an attractive place to do business we must invest in students, young people and the workforce to ensure that they are equipped with the skills that industry and our economy needs.
“The new Department for Economy provides a real opportunity to integrate what we are doing in terms of skills with our economic offering to the benefit of the whole economy in Northern Ireland.”
The Minister continued: “Making sure the supply of skills meets the demands of employers now and in the future is central to our refocused economic strategy and is one of the draft Programme for Government indicators.
“We’ve a real asset in our people and we want to see those skills that they have being developed and improved so that we can compete in what is a very difficult global marketplace. Having a strong and sustainable higher education sector is incredibly important particularly in the context of reducing the rate of Corporation Tax.”
During the meeting the Minister also took the opportunity to view progress on the new Belfast campus development. He said: “The new Ulster University Belfast campus expansion will offer a vibrant, outward-looking campus which will foster economic regeneration while at the same time creating a modern university right in the heart of the city centre.”
Concluding, the Minister said: “Today’s meeting was extremely useful to hear about Ulster University’s vision for higher education. I look forward to meeting with our other higher education providers to discuss with them how we can move forward to produce the right skills for the economy in Northern Ireland, not just today but into the future as well.”
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