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Minister Emphasizes the Importance of People in Irish Higher Education System



Minister Emphasizes The Importance Of People In Irish Higher Education System

Minister of State at the Department of Further and Higher Education Research Innovation and Science (DFHERIS), Niall Collins TD, highlighted the crucial role of people in the Irish higher education system. Speaking at the 21st Irish Universities Association Human Resources Conference held at the University of Limerick, Minister Collins emphasized that the success of the higher education system is largely due to the individuals working in universities and other higher education institutions.

The conference, centered around the theme of ‘Sustainable HR – Prioritising Our People’, featured inspiring speakers who addressed various aspects of communications, high performance, and well-being. Minister Collins acknowledged the international recognition of the Irish higher education system in terms of participation rates, academic standards, and contributions to economic development and investment.

Minister Collins, along with Minister Simon Harris and department officials, expressed their commitment to supporting the sector through funding and policy development. The ‘Funding the Future’ framework, launched in 2022, is a crucial part of these efforts. The initiative has already secured an additional €100 million for the sector, and the aim is to secure the full €307 million identified as necessary for sustaining the sector.

The funding will lead to increased staffing levels and improved support services for students, as well as enhancing the capabilities of higher education institutions to meet priority skills needs and develop tertiary programs. Minister Collins praised the role of HR professionals in recruiting, developing, and retaining talented individuals, as they play a vital role in attracting students and private investment.

Professor Kerstin Mey, President of the University of Limerick, highlighted the university’s strategic goal of shaping a future where sustainability is an integral part of their identity. She emphasized the importance of every member of the university community, including dedicated staff, in creating a culture of sustainability. UL is investing in programs and initiatives to empower staff to contribute meaningfully to their sustainability agenda.

The conference host and Director of HR at UL, Bobby O’Connor, pointed out that valuing people as the most critical resource is essential for effective and sustainable Human Resources. By prioritizing the well-being and potential of individuals, organizations can foster an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered.

The two-day conference featured renowned speakers such as international communications expert Gina London, high-performance coach Caroline Currid, and psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy, along with faculty members from the University of Limerick.

Rachel Adams

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