MR ROBIN SWANN, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and Chairman of the Stormont Employment and Learning Committee, has asked the Alliance DEL Minister to ensure that any proposals accepted by the Finance and Personnel Minister will ensure a future for the NRC in both Ballymena and Ballymoney, through a presence and community engagement. ”
Assemblyman Swann, who is also UUP Chief Whip and North Antrim UUP Chairman, issued his appeal to the DEL minister “given that the future of NRC Campuses in Ballymena and Ballymoney to be known soon”.
Mr Swann said he has been informed that “the Minister has subsequently considered and accepted the Business Case proposals and is currently seeking approval from the Department of Finance and Personnel”.
Mr Swann continued: “The proposal to provide the much-needed upgrade to the NRC facilities is not without concern, but an investment of this size in the constituency and the construction jobs associated with it will be welcomed.
“I believe this decision has been delayed for long enough and it is crucial that the announcement is made as soon as possible.
“The provision of Further and Higher Education courses in North Antrim is more critical now than it has ever been, due to the forthcoming jobs losses, which must be met with an opportunity and the ability for workers to reskill and upskill.
“I have also asked the Minister of Employment and Learning to re-evaluate the number of places that NRC can provide at a Higher Education Level as the College has been constantly oversubscribed.
“Unfortunately, that uncertainty still remains, as I have personally been told, that”, “until the Department of Finance and Personnel provides the necessary clearance, the preferred option cannot be made public,” said Assemblyman Swann.