Saudi students will ‘create jobs and boost the economy’

3 Nov 2010

A new scholarship programme that will see Saudi students transfer to Irish Technology colleges will “create jobs and boost the regional economy”.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe TD made the announcement today that an agreement has been made between the Irish and Saudi Arabian governments to train Saudi students in vocational skills in three Irish colleges.

Carlow Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology and Blanchardstown Institute of Technology have been chosen to host hundreds of students transferring from Saudi Arabia who will avail of their facilities.

Promote bonds and exports

The announcement was made during O’Keeffe’s trade mission, where he hopes to promote bonds and develop exports between Ireland and the Middle East.

In developing these educational links, O’Keeffe said they would “build on our strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, which considers Ireland among a small number of strategic partners in education”.

Athlone Institute of Technology, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and Waterford Institute of  Technology already have working arrangements with Saudi authorities for vocational training and education and have around 150 students taking degree programmes there.

“The new agreements with the three institutes of technology will draw hundreds more Saudi students to Ireland under the well-funded scholarship programme, where they will spend money in the local economy and help to create jobs.

“Saudi students could become new ambassadors for Ireland and choose the country for key investments originating in the Middle-East North-Africa region, which is our fastest-growing emerging market," said O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe yesterday urged Irish banks to “return to first principles” and begin lending to export-led Irish firms.

About 800 Saudis are studying in Ireland and it is estimated they are worth some €20m to the economy annually.

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