Apolitical deputation meets council over future of Mayo GMIT campus

A SMALL apolitical group with a general objective to support GMIT in Castlebar made a presentation this afternoon to elected members and officials of Mayo County Council.

In their presentation they stated the Castlebar colleges is alive and well and playing a significant role in the academic landscape.

The campus now caters for more than 730 students, 60% of whom are Mayo based.

Much of this has been achieved by dedicated local staff who have driven this ongoing development agenda

Local plans are to introduce campus companies to engage with local enterprises on innovation and co-development projects.

These measures also include collaboration with peer institutions in Ireland and the UK. Campus Castlebar intends to introduce an online marketing and sales platform to assist the local business sector.

A revised educational educational marketing strategy is designed to increase local student intake

Campus Castlebar has played a significant role in the development of DIGMES. This is a digital media course that opens a wide variety of applications and market led career options.

DIGMES has the potential to become the Swiss Army Knife of the digital media world.

The management and staff have achieved much in a very demanding marketplace with limited resources.

The recent announcement to strip out the fundamental degree courses will have a detrimental effect on progress to date, the group stated.

The group outlined: “Every effort in every corner of Mayo must focus on reversing this short-sighted decision.

“The Castlebar campus is no longer just an academic centre and has adopted a role as a significant driver in the future of the county

“This should also be evaluated in the context of rural economic development, which apart from the recent, and most welcome Allergan announcement, shows little growth.

“The situation is compounded by rising fuel costs, the Brexit and Trump impact, all this in areas like Mayo that has not experienced economic revival.

“Regional development strategies, as espoused by present and recent policy, simply does not work. The logical focus is to consider a bottom up development agenda.

“Since its inception, the campus has been stymied by lack of the necessary financial resources. Yet against this background, the staff and management have achieved much

“The challenges are retention of key business courses, increase in student intake, significant financial support so that the college can continue and enhance its contribution to the Mayo economic landscape.

“In the short term, it needs to overcome a financial shortfall and seek a Killybegs type solution. It seeks financial support of Mayo County Council in this endeavour.”

Capital costs of €1.7 million are required to carry out major roof repair, window replacement and road resurfacing works, for which help is sought from the council.

“Much of the current and pending development projects can be funded by existing commercial and grant sources. Many of the development structures are already in place,” the submission added.