U4D say work goes on

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The lead partners in Derry’s ‘One Plan’ must act now on the expansion of Magee to make the most of the cheaper student fees in the North.

Representatives of the University for Derry lobby group are urging those responsible for developing the Derry university to take advantage of the increase in student fees in the UK and “accelerate the development and expansion of the Magee campus.”

A U4D spokesperson said: “This would ensure more Irish students will seek to study in Northern Ireland and indeed many UK students may seek to study here also. This would create, for the first time in decades, the prospect of reversing the flow of graduates from NI to the UK exists.”

U4D issued the statement in response to an article by Eamonn McCann in Tuesday’s Journal, asking if the organisation was still active in pressing for Magee’s expansion.

The statement said U4D had continued to have a series of meetings with politicians and others U4D added that they’re fully behind the ILEX ‘One Plan’ for the city, which suggests that university expansion is key for regneeration.

“The One Plan ‘lead partners,’ are the University of Ulster, the Department of Learning, ILEX, and the private sector. They and all political leaders in Northern Ireland have endorsed the project. To that effect U4D have recently met with all political parties in Northern Ireland, the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, Education Minister Steven Farry, and all local MPs and MLAs. The expansion of the University and Altnagelvin Hospitals are central to the plan. The University is identified as a catalyst project in terms of delivering long-term sustainable regeneration for the city.

The cost of the expansion proposed is forecast at £200milion in capital costs and £50million per annum in recurring costs.

According to U4D, a campus of around 9,400 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students is forecast to deliver the following return:

An annual economic impact estimated at £495 million by 2030, rising to £1 billion by 2040;

In conjunction with other supports, the creation of 2,800 new jobs (direct and indirect) by 2020, rising to 7,700 by 2030;

An increase in the skills profile of the resident population;

Increased access to Higher Education for everyone in the city;

Closing of the inequality gap for resident school leavers;

An increase in the number of students studying and qualifying in STEM subjects;

An influx of talented young people to offset the export of talent that currently occurs.

The U4D spokesperson added: “Our university city would thrive as graduates would elect to remain in the city and region to offer inward investors a highly skilled and well educated workforce. The increased prosperity of the city would attract more visitors, students and inward investmentenhancing the cultural life and contribution to the ongoing regeneration of the region.

“To achieve these targets the University expansion programme must commence now,” concluded the spokesperson.