The announcement this morning by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD of a significant capital investment to upgrade the facilities at Grennan Equestrian Centre in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny has been warmly welcomed by the centre and its patron, Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB).
Commenting on the Minister’s announcement, Director of Further Education and Training (FET) for KCETB Martha Bolger said, “The entire staff at Grennan Equestrian Centre and at Ormonde College of Further Education, and throughout KCETB, are delighted with the news that Grennan Equestrian Centre will receive a significant capital investment to create a new teaching, learning and skills development space. This capital injection will transform the learning experience for the students who attend Grennan Equestrian Centre every year to study for careers in the equine industry. We are ambitious in our plans for Grennan Equestrian Centre and this funding will help towards enabling those ambitions”.
“Today’s announcement is also a great endorsement of the wonderful work being undertaken at Grennan Equestrian Centre and the dedication of our programme co-ordinator Ms Bridgette McCarthy, who is assisted by Ms Cindy Hutchinson, and by John Kavanagh, the deputy principal of Ormonde College of Further Education which operates Grennan Equestrian Centre”, added Martha Bolger.
The funding announced this morning will be used for capital improvements, including the replacement of existing prefabricated classrooms and the upgrading of the tack room.
Thomastown Equestrian Centre is part of the suite of provision offered by Ormonde College of Further Education and falls under the remit of Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB). Its renowned QQI Levels 5 and 6 Advanced Certificate in Horsemanship is a one-year, full-time programme designed to meet the demands of a wide and expanding equine industry. The course provides students with the knowledge and skills to work in a variety of roles in the equine industry, and the opportunity to progress to higher education in areas such as a BSc in Equine Science or a BA(Hons) in Equine Business Management. Graduates of the course are working in the equine industry all over the world.
Minister Harris’s announcement coincided with a visit to Grennan Equestrian Centre today where he toured the facilities and met with learners, staff and management. He met and spoke with the chief executive of KCETB Eileen Curtis, the director of Further Education and Training (FET) Martha Bolger, the deputy principal of Ormonde College John Kavanagh and Cllr Peter “Chap” Cleere in his capacity as chairman of the board of KCETB.
KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis said the capital grant is “ really important for the development of the centre in Thomastown and will greatly enhance the facilities there”.
The upgrades at Grennan Equestrian Centre will be one of 13 capital projects to be funded under the 2022 Strategic Infrastructure Upgrade Fund (SIUF) for the FET sector. Funding for the projects will be provided through SOLAS which funds FET in all 16 education and training boards (ETB).