Project EAGLE, a Town and Gown Initiative

On March 25th in UL’s City Campus, Project EAGLE marked an exciting milestone with the launch of its first micro-credential in Introduction to Data Analytics.  Graduate and Professional Studies were honoured to welcome Minister Niall Collins, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, MEP Billy Kelleher and Provost & Deputy President Shane Kilcommins at the launch. 

Both the Provost and Minister Collins took to the podium at the  event to commend the initiative, with the Provost emphasizing its role in uniting academia and industry, aptly termed as a “town and gown” initiative.

Why EAGLE is important?

EAGLE is an 11-partner initiative funded by the EU Digital Europe Programme, which focuses on digitisation upskilling for European SMEs. In UL EAGLE is led by Geraldine Carroll with Linda Keane as Project Manager in Graduate and Professional Studies.

Digitalisation is the key for SMEs to become more competitive.  One of the principal barriers that European SMEs are facing is employees not having the right skills and the lack of relevant qualifications for upskilling.

The main objective of Project EAGLE is to design and develop high quality specialised training course reflecting the latest developments in key areas, i.e. cybersecurity, data analytics, blockchain and smart energy to support the development of advanced digital skills in the labour force.

UL Course launch

The launch focussed on celebrating partner collaboration and working together in developing, promoting and recruiting students to the Introduction to Data Analytics, and of course, to recognise the participation and work of the students, funded by Project EAGLE.

GPS worked with Skillnet Ireland, Limerick Chamber Skillnet and Shannon Chamber Skillnet in holding focus groups with Chamber companies, to determine knowledge gaps and preferred curricula for SME’s based on skill gaps in data analytics/digitalisation.

Taking this feedback, GPS worked with the Flexible Learning Centre in UL, to customise two modules from the Digitalisation of Business and Industry Processes Professional Diploma, that is Introduction to Data Analytics and Digitalisation of Process as  ULs EAGLE offering. Particular recognition goes to Michael Henessy, Dr. Brian McLafferty and Dr. Sean Moore for their excellent industry-led design approach to new programme development.

All stakeholders, that is UL, Skillnet Ireland, Limerick Chamber Skillnet and Shannon Chamber Skillnet, promoted the course and supported the recruitment of 15 fully funded students, which commenced study in January. There was significant demand for the places with over seventy applications.

The delivery of the Introduction to Data Analytics programme involves a blended learning approach, with online, face to face and practical workshops.  The students are over half-way through their course and we wish them the best of luck with the remaining course work.

The partners are now working together to promote further to SME’s. The next module, Digitalisation of Process will be offered in September 2024 marking another significant step in the journey of Project EAGLE towards fostering digital empowerment among European SMEs.

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