Plans have been revealed for a an Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Westmeath.
The Minister for Further and Higher Education will be unveiling new plans for a new national training centre for electric vehicles in the midlands today.
Simon Harris is in Mullingar, where the new centre will be built.
€200,000 has been allocated for the provision of a temporary project office, which will be based in the Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board Head Office in Marlinstown.
Minister Harris outlines the work that will be carried out at the new facility:
Minister Harris says:
"This is the start of a really significant transition.
As the number of EVs on the road increases, a workforce with the knowledge to fix and properly maintain them will be needed.
It is clear to us we need a dedicated national centre to focus on the delivery of these key skills, while preparing for future technological advances.
This national centre will be based in the Midlands, in one of our growing towns and will be absolutely critical to delivery of the skills of the future."
Longford Westmeath Fine Gael TD and Junior European Minister Peter Burke says:
"This is another exciting day for Westmeath and another vote of confidence in our town and region as we see our plans being further developed.
The large-scale new centre of excellence will be transformative for our towms, and step one is to establish a project office and recruit staff, and this step starts today.
It is hard to capture the importance of electric vehicle management at present, we really are on the cusp of a huge change we are seeing beginning to play out before our eyes.
It is also an exciting day for Longford Westmeath ETB who will be in a position to extend the provision of higher education even further now, working with SOLAS to develop the apprenticeship programme, with Westmeath the flagship exclusive location for this course.
Young people are currently engaged in apprenticeships in higher numbers than we have ever seen in this country, and it is important we continue to expand and invest in apprenticeships to meet the demand in the market for tradespeople, and highlight the benefits and career options available for people with a trade."