Belfast Telegraph

Minister asks business leaders for views on higher education

By Staff Reporter

Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry is asking businesses in the province for their views on higher education in Northern Ireland.

The planned closure of the modern languages school at Ulster University has sparked concern among business leaders, particularly those which are involved in the export trade.

The university's decision follows a £8.6m cut in the subsidy received from the Department for Employment and Learning.

In total, the higher education sector here is losing £16m in funding this year.

Now, the DEL Minister Stephen Farry is asking the business community to make its views known on the future of higher education.

He said: "We are seeing over 500 fewer university places at Queen's and Ulster University this year for local students, rising to over 1,900 over the next few years.

"This is extremely detrimental to the local skills needs of business and Northern Ireland's future economic prosperity."

He has urged companies to take part in the 'higher education big conversation', a move welcomed by the NI Chamber of Commerce.

President Stephen McCully said: "I cannot stress the importance of higher level skills to the Northern Ireland economy enough, and I urge businesses to join the conversation and ensure the voices of the business community are heard."

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