Belfast Telegraph

Schools project leads to jobs boost

New Government plans for a massive 1.5 billion euro school building project could create around 18,000 jobs, it has been claimed.

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn unveiled the five-year project, which will see the construction of 157 brand new schools and extensions to 118 existing buildings.

"This investment in major school building projects will create an estimated 15,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs over the period of the programme - an annual average of 3,000 direct and 600 indirect jobs," said Mr Quinn.

"A total of 1.5 billion euros will be spent on these 275 projects. This is very welcome news for the construction industry."

The expansion will create around 80,000 new school places between now and 2016, which is expected to meet growing enrolment figures as a result of Ireland's recent baby boom.

According to the Central Statistics Office, 19,950 births were registered in the first quarter of 2011 - the highest number recorded in any quarter since the series began in 1960.

Total enrolment is therefore predicted to grow by 70,000 pupils over the next six years, with 45,000 of those starting school at primary level and 25,000 at secondary.

"We have to ensure that every child growing up in Ireland can access a physical school place," Mr Quinn added.

"Our programme unveiled today means that schools and parents will be able to plan much better for their children's education at a time when enrolments at both primary and second level are rising dramatically."

The plans, which will include the building of 106 new primary and 43 new secondary schools, falls under the Fine Gael-Labour coalition's Programme for Government and Capital Investment Programme.

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