£15m campus for deprived city areas
A £15 million economic development campus for the most deprived parts of north and west Belfast was unveiled on Wednesday.
Enterprise, entrepreneurship and employability will be promoted by the Belfast Metropolitan College project, known as e3. It is expected to open in spring 2012.
Television and radio production studios, a hospitality training suite and manufacturing and engineering facilities will be provided to encourage innovation.
The 5,000 sq metre Springfield Road building will accommodate up to 350 people including students, school pupils, local businesses and community organisations.
College chief executive Marie Therese McGivern said: "We cannot ignore the difficult economic situation which we face and it is important that people seeking employment have as wide a range of skills as possible.
"e3 will allow students to push their potential as they develop their ability to find solutions, work collaboratively, communicate effectively and set and achieve targets whilst accessing leading edge equipment and facilities."
The development is funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and Belfast Metropolitan College. It will be a model for the innovative use of new and emerging technologies with resources for testing renewable energies.
Employment Minister Sir Reg Empey said: "e3 will not only provide training in a range of cutting-edge subjects which will be much sought after in the modern workplace, but do so in an environment where business and education sectors can collaborate to meet the requirements of employer and employee alike."
The IFI contributed £5 million to the project.
Chairman Denis Rooney said: "It would be difficult to overestimate the very positive benefits this state-of-the-art building will have on the local north and west Belfast economy and also the wider Northern Ireland economy."