Minister Harris: Advance Centre is delivering the skills to future-proof Irish industries

Posted 26 September, 2022

(B) Dr Xavier Velay, James Wright, Professor Jason Last, UCD Acting President Professor Mark Rodgers, Minister Simon Harris, and Professor David Fitzpatrick. (F) Dr Barry Twomey, UCD Acting Registrar and Deputy President Professor Barbara Dooley, Mary-Anne Culhane, Louise O’Gorman, Minister Josepha Madigan, Joanna Kozielec, Professor Ken Stanton, and Associate Professor Chris Bleakley. PHOTO: Fennell Photography

The Advance Centre at University College Dublin is helping Irish industry to future-proof by delivering the key skills needed to compete in the digital arena, according to Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

An education partnership between UCD, Atlantic TU Sligo, and TU Dublin, the Centre focuses on professional learning – offering accredited courses to help companies and employees address skill gaps that are emerging due to the tech and digital transformations taking place across many different industries across Ireland.

Speaking at the Advance Centre, Minister Harris said by developing industry relevant education, it was delivering “a response to Irish industry’s needs in the digital area”.

“In the times that we live in, there is a responsibility on universities to share their knowledge and expertise with public and private enterprise, and likewise for enterprise to work with higher education to ensure we create the best graduates and the most modern workforce.

“[You] are combining and complementing the expertise and experience of UCD and ATU Sligo in the areas of digital manufacturing and data analytics, together with TU Dublin’s expertise in key electronic systems design.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend University leaders at every level who are developing, delivering and addressing industry’s future skills needs in the digital arena.”

Minister Harris’s visit to the Advance Centre took place shortly after the end of European Digital Transformation Week, which Dr Barry Twomey, Advance Centre Director, said had made clear “that digital skills are of critical importance to economic growth at both a national and European level”.

“Ireland has been pro-active in supporting the Universities to develop and deliver flexible training and development opportunities, but we have more to do in promoting these opportunities and make sure those who need them can find them, and access them with minimum fuss.”

The Advance Centre offers a range of accredited courses and qualifications across 11 different themes aimed at part-time learners who want to upskill in cutting edge areas such as Cybersecurity, Quantum Computing, Data Science, Software Engineering, Digital Agriculture, Data Analytics for Health, AI for Medicine, Financial Mathematics, Electronic System Design and Digital Manufacturing.

Its modules and degree programmes are taught by:

“Today’s workplace demands continuous learning by employees so that their knowledge and skills stay relevant and up-to-minute,” said Associate Professor Chris Bleakley, the Principal Investigator at the Centre.

“Powered by UCD, Atlantic TU and TU Dublin and supported by the HEA, the Advance Centre offers high quality education and recognised qualifications on the very latest industry relevant topics."

Created in 2020, the Centre is financially supported by the Higher Education Authority under the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Joanna Kozielec, Advance Centre)