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Ministers welcome approval for Joint Public Services College at Desertcreat

Approval has been secured to build a 139 million joint public services college at Desertcreat.
Thursday, 6 October 2011

This is an important milestone for everyone associated with the Desertcreat project and one which brings closer the building of an integrated public services training college with world class facilities

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,Northern Ireland Department of Justice

The way is now open to submit a full planning application and launch a tendering process to develop the state of the art college on the outskirts of Cookstown.

Welcomed by Justice Minister David Ford and Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots, training for the Police Service Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Prison Service and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service will be delivered at the 250 acre site once it becomes operational in 2015.

David Ford said: “This is an important milestone for everyone associated with the Desertcreat project and one which brings closer the building of an integrated public services training college with world class facilities.

“Our police officers, prison officers and fire fighters put their lives on the line for people across Northern Ireland day and daily and they deserve training facilities of the highest quality.

“Desertcreat will deliver this and I look forward to the next stage of the programme with the submission of a full planning application and the initiation of a tender process.”

The Department of Finance and Personnel approved the business case for Desertcreat at the end of last week. Within the next six months a full planning application will be lodged and a tendering process for developing the college launched. Work is due to start on the green field site in 2013, with the college opening two years later.

Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots said: “This is excellent news and means we can now seek full planning permission and move another step closer to having state of the art, integrated training facilities for our emergency service personnel.

“Our fire fighters, police officers and prison officers deliver the best possible service to the people of Northern Ireland and it is only fitting they now have facilities to match their dedication and work.  

“By integrating and sharing facilities, it is hoped that Desertcreat College will develop best practice in training, technology, sustainability and ecology, so that the College willbecome recognised as a world class partnershiptraining environment.”

Chair of the Project Board, Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, welcomed the announcement and said:  “This decision by the Department of Finance and Personnel marks the next step in achieving a purpose built world class training facility for our public services.  This is a real example of Government departments working together for everyone.  The development of this shared college helps demonstrate that Northern Ireland is a place to invest.

“I believe that the training which will be provided at Desertcreat will provide us with the best possible public services which in turn will help make Northern Ireland a safer and more secure place for everyone.

“Our current training facilities are outdated and would require considerable, costly modernisation to meet even minimum standards.  The Joint Services Training College is an investment for the future which will provide purpose built practical and classroom training facilities in a fully secured, protected and shared environment.

“I am very enthusiastic about this Project and I believe that the three services involved deserve a fit for purpose, world leading, and best in class training facility.”

Notes to editors:

The joint public services training college at Desertcreat will provide training facilities for the Police Service Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Prison Service and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

The facilities to be provided will include; academic classrooms, ICT suites, simulated learning suites, conference facilities, fitness facilities, overnight accommodation, practical training areas, live fire rescue, public order, district command, emergency situation, driver training, prison environment, mock courts, residential environment, rural training and marine rescue.

View the Desertcreat website

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