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SETU and LOETB offer access to degrees courses to further education learners

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SETU and LOETB offer access to degrees courses to further education learners 

South East Technological University (SETU) has partnered with Laois Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) to increase access to degree courses in business and software development for learners.  

This comes on the heels of the launch of 23 new tertiary degree programmes by the National Tertiary Office (NTO) at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre today. These programmes will run for the academic year 2023/24. They are aimed at learners who would like to transition from further to higher education and are on offer across 11 locations, in five areas of study: business; ICT; arts; engineering; manufacturing and construction; and health and welfare. 

The NTO was established by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Skills, in a joint initiative between the Higher Education Authority and SOLAS. It was tasked with the development of new progression pathways from further to higher education, which is central to the government’s ambition of a unified tertiary education system. This involves the removal of common barriers to entry such as accommodation costs, travel, and CAO entry points. 

Speaking at the launch, Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Skills, said: “This is the single biggest transformation to education access in decades. Today, we launch 23 degree courses outside the points system. We know the points system has not worked for many of our young people. Today, we can tell the next generation of students they can access degrees in nursing, business, engineering, and media without ever engaging with the CAO system. This is the start. We have much more to do but today, we change the system and ensure the learner is at the heart of all we do. I want to thank the National Tertiary Office, the Higher Education Authority and SOLAS for their leadership in driving this forward.” 

Commenting on the launch, David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at SETU said: “This is something that we at SETU, and our colleagues at LOETB, have been working on for some time. We believe that it will create clear progression pathways for students transitioning from further education to higher education. We look forward to continuing to work in enhanced partnership with LOETB to explore this new model for joint further and higher education programmes that will strengthen learner pathways, and ensure they are accessible to everyone.” 

Among the programmes on offer countrywide, SETU and LOETB have collaborated to deliver the Bachelor of Business (Honours) degree, with specialisation options in management, international business, marketing, human resource management, supply chain management, accounting, and finance. They will also deliver the Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Software Development. Learners on these courses are recognised as registered students of both SETU and LOETB, and thus can avail of student facilities and supports across both organisations.  

Anne Marie Keane, Project Lead for LOETB, added: “LOETB is acutely aware of the pressures that learners and their families are experiencing in the current climate and are delighted to collaborate on this project to make third level education more accessible to learners in our region. The option for learners to complete a significant element of their undergraduate studies closer to home provides many benefits including reduced accommodation and travel expenses, greater study/life balance, and a smoother transition to higher education, leading to greater retention and completion rates.” 

Welcoming the launch of the NTO’s initiative, Dr Sarah Sartori, Project Lead for SETU, said: “This is an exciting initiative that will help to equalise the pathways to good, well-paid professions, by moving away from just the Leaving Certificate. A large part of my role will be to ensure that learners on these courses feel part of the SETU community from the get-go. These are joint courses, so learners will be in the unique position where they will have access to all the learner supports and services provided by LOETB, as well as being able to access the same range of supports and services as learners at SETU.” 

For more information on courses on offer for the coming academic year, eligibility criteria, and entry requirements, visit 

For course-specific queries in relation to degree programmes available at SETU, contact Dr Sarah Sartori on [email protected]  

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