AS Leaving Certificate students finalise their CAO options, the announcement of the Government decision to approve the establishment of the Munster Technological University (MTU) could not have come at a more opportune time.
Students will now have the opportunity to enrol in courses in CIT or IT Tralee and graduate from MTU, Ireland’s newest technological university.
At a time when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in major challenges in every area of life as we know it (e.g. employment, community, society, regional and national development), the establishment of MTU will deliver significant benefits to incoming students in areas such as the following:
Graduates will experience enhanced employability both in Ireland and internationally as “MTU graduates”.
Students will have a greater range of options available to them in relation to course choice, progression opportunities and industry placement
Graduates will be able to avail of a greater selection of options nationally and internationally for further study
Opportunities to engage in research and innovation will increase significantly and position MTU graduates to succeed in globally competitive businesses as well as in driving societal change
The range and quality of services and supports available to students will be enhanced significantly
While this article concentrates primarily on the benefits of MTU for incoming CIT/MTU students, the benefits to be had for incoming IT Tralee/MTU students are of a similar nature and are detailed on www.mtu.ie and www.ittralee.ie.
Large scale and new facilities
In addition to the above-described advantages for students who enrol in MTU, the very significant scale and impact of MTU brings increased opportunities to win external funding and drive the development of new facilities. Together, CIT and IT Tralee feature:
1. Six campuses across Cork and Kerry
2. 140 plus courses and programmes
3. 18,000 plus learners
4. 2,000 plus staff and developing and support learners
The sod was turned recently on the new sports centre on the Bishopstown Campus, where a new Learning Resource Centre is also planned in addition to a multimillion euro upgrade of existing buildings. A new STEM building is planned for IT Tralee which will add greatly to the state-of-the-art sports facilities that have been developed there recently.
A place for artists, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists CIT/MTU provides an incredible array of opportunities for students who wish to become artists, entrepreneurs, engineers or scientists. It provides access to exciting careers in areas as diverse as maritime, music, social care and sport.
All CIT/MTU courses are designed in partnership with industry and with the guidance of practising professionals, thus ensuring that they are up-to-date and relevant for those who wish to enter employment, create their own businesses, become professional artists and performers, or make a significant impact on society. Virtually all CIT/MTU graduates begin work or participate in further studies within a short time of graduating. As Ireland recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relevance of CIT/MTU courses will be an important factor for graduates seeking employment.
For students who wish to create their own futures
In addition to seeking employment, CIT/MTU offers students fantastic opportunities to develop their own business ideas and create their own jobs. CIT/MTU is recognised as one of the leading higher education institutions in Ireland in the area of student entrepreneurship and innovation. From the commencement of their studies through to graduation and beyond, students from all disciplinary areas have the opportunity to develop business ideas with their classmates in a highly supportive environment. They may apply to work with start-up companies in the Rubicon Centre, the business incubation centre at CIT/MTU, as well as to participate in Student Inc., a CIT/MTU-led initiative which funds students while they develop their own business ideas. To date, through the Rubicon Centre and its antecedents, CIT/MTU has helped to create well over 400 new companies which have raised in excess of €100M in investment and currently support more than 2,500 jobs in the region.
Many of the jobs advertised today didn’t exist just a few years ago. When choosing a university education, students need to be sure that they have the opportunity to develop their broader personal and professional skills as well as the entering the specific area of interest to them.
A student’s learning pathway in CIT/MTU is not just towards her/his first job but, rather, it is about developing the flexibility and resilience that means that the student will continue to be employable in a changing global workplace. For students who wish to build their own futures, CIT/MTU is a fantastic choice.
A university for all CIT/MTU is committed to widening participation, increasing access and supporting positive educational outcomes for under-represented groups. It is strongly committed to providing a high quality, professional and student-centred service. This is achieved through committing strongly to the principles of social inclusion and by working locally, regionally and nationally in partnership with key stakeholders.
Equality, diversity and inclusion feature large on the agenda of CIT/MTU. CIT/MTU has recently achieved an Athena SWAN bronze award, which provides formal recognition of the fact that the institution has a solid foundation for developing an inclusive culture that values all staff equally.
CIT/MTU runs numerous initiatives which benefit its students in this context also and the CIT/MTU Students Union is exceptionally committed to achieving positive outcomes for its members in this area.
Proactively supporting students
CIT/MTU is also committed to continuously improving engagement, progression and success opportunities for all students.
Its aim is to enhance students’ engagement with learning and life at CIT/MTU, enabling progression of students through their programmes of study and maximising potential for graduate development and success.
CIT/MTU is an acknowledged a leader in student engagement across the higher education sector in Ireland and has won the Student Engagement and Communications Award at the Irish Education Awards in 2020, 2018 and 2017.
The smart choice
Clearly, MTU has developed incredible momentum. The Government announcement relating to its establishment has been enthusiastically and widely welcomed by current students, industry representatives and a wide range of stakeholders.
Developments across its various campus locations are accelerating and its support for students who wish to explore their creativity, entrepreneurial instincts, talents in STEM or interests in the caring professions, while making a positive contribution to society at large, is of the highest standard. It is now the smart choice for students.
About the author
Michael Loftus is Vice President for External Affairs at CIT/MTU.
He has held a range of senior positions in industry and higher education, as well as developing a highly successful start-up business with partners which was subsequently acquired by a major multinational IT research and consultancy firm.
In CIT/MTU, he holds responsibility for industry engagement, development of start-ups, research and innovation, alumni relations, internationalisation and marketing.