The period saw LCFE experience a steady increase in learner numbers, expansion of its portfolio of programmes, enhanced quality assurance and improvements in its campus facilities and infrastructure. All of this was achieved in a time of unprecedented cutbacks and efficiency measures in all of the education sectors in Ireland and, in particular, the FET sector.
The key successes achieved during this period were:
LCFE succeeded in augmenting its portfolio of national and internationally recognised programmes through its pursuit of improvements in programme and curriculum design, its responsiveness to the needs of learners and a substantial investment in the development of quality assurance systems and improvement. A major achievement of LCFE during the period 2009 – 2012 has been the key role the college has played nationally in the development of QQI-FETAC validated programmes in the areas of business, visual arts, childcare, sports and information technology.
The following support services have been set up to support learners during their learning experience in LCFE:
Over the last number of years the college has not only built strongly on established partnerships with business and industry and other Educational and Training institutions but has also invested considerable resources into developing new partnerships. LCFE has set up partnerships with the following institutions: University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology, Tralee, South & City College Birmingham, St. Enda’s Community College, Arsenal Football Club and the FAI.
During the period 2009 – 2012 the College invested heavily in CPD for staff. The College recognises the importance of staff well-being and has delivered very successful workshops in this area. LCFE continually encourages and provides opportunities for staff to upgrade their existing skillset / qualifications in order to further support the quality of teaching and learning in LCFE.
A key strategic objective in the LCFE Strategic Plan 2009 – 2012 was to promote best practice in Health and Safety. The college during this period engaged staff in various training in the Health & Safety area such as General Health and Safety Awareness Training, Risk Assessment Training, First Aid Training, Fire Extinguisher Training.
The College has made upgrading the Mulgrave Street campus a priority as it realises that this is central to the delivery of a high quality service. Over the last four years the College has invested in the region of €2 million in physical infrastructure alone. Its patron, City of Limerick VEC, was very supportive during this period by successfully applying for various grants to match the funds provided by the College.
The introduction of a canteen franchise, and the upgrade of theory and computer rooms have greatly enhanced the learner campus experience. In 2011 the College invested over €100,000 in a broadcast media suite which supports an online campus radio station for LCFE - ‘iMix - LCFE Online Radio’. An additional €100,000 was invested the same year in a new state-of-the-art iMac Lab on the College campus at Mulgrave Street. This exposes learners to the latest Mac technology and iMac software available on the market.
The College has invested heavily in ICT infrastructure during the period 2009 – 2012, upgrading computer rooms and installing up-to-date versions of applications to ensure staff and learners have the most up–to-date technologies at their disposal at all times.
The College, in its involvement with its stakeholders in the wider community, continues to promote further education and training in the region. LCFE through the period 2009 – 2012 has successfully promoted an appreciation and understanding of the diversity of the College by holding such events as the annual Intercultural Day and attending international events in the region.
The College recognizes the importance of its continuing relationship with existing stakeholders and its need to develop new partnerships with the new regional and national agencies and organisations emerging in Further Education and Training in Ireland.
LCFE has identified stakeholder groups across a number of areas including: internal stakeholders (learners, staff, Board of Management), education partners (LCETB, SOLAS, DES, QQI, LIT, UL, MIC, ATI, C&G, CIDESCO/ITEC, ICM) and industry partners (local and regional business, national trade unions, Chambers of Commerce, Skillsnet and contractors and service providers). The College understands its need to continue to work with a range of stakeholders to ensure continued successful collaboration, awareness and responsiveness to existing and emergent needs.