The FTA has said that the decision by Ulster University to discontinue transport courses will be a huge loss to the local transport and logistics sector, could hamper safety and compliance standards, and would be detrimental to the economy.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on the Minster for Employment and Learning, and the Minister for the Environment in Northern Ireland to reconsider the decision made by Ulster University to cease the established courses from 2018, or for it to develop new provisions in Logistics and Transport in order to educate and provide industry with future leaders.
FTA’s policy Northern Ireland - Seamus Leheny said: “FTA is very disappointed that these course are to stop at Ulster University. If the economy in Northern Ireland is to grow then we must have an export led economy and the ability to get goods to market efficiently is vital. To achieve this we need high calibre management within the transport and logistics sector. Sadly if these courses are to cease we will lose this fantastic source of knowledge to the detriment of industry and the economy.”
FTA has written to Dr Stephen Farry, and Mark H Durkhan, outlining the consequences of abolishing the courses, and has asked that the decision taken by the University to cease intake into their BSc Hons Transportation and MSci Transportation Planning Courses be reconsidered.
Stephen Farry is Minister for Dept of Employment & Learning (DEL), and is responsible for post 2nd level education and its specific aim to promote learning and skills, to prepare people for work and to support the economy. Mark H Durkan – minister for Dept of Environment (DOE) is responsible for road safety, commercial vehicle regulations and freight operator licensing.
The Association stated within its letters to both Ministers that without the opportunity for students to embark on the Ulster University qualifications the transport industry would no longer have graduates with an academic background to fill much needed posts within the industry.
The current Ulster University courses are the only transport specific degree level courses in Ireland with an unrivalled 90-95% of graduates gaining full time employment upon graduation in their chosen career.
The FTA also raised concerns regarding the lack of qualified and expert transport managers for commercial vehicle operators’ saying that road safety and knowledge of compliance would be seriously lacking.
Leheny concluded: “FTA promotes good safe practice and the employment of professional transport managers. Our fear is that we will be losing the best of our future transport managers due to a lack of a relevant 3rd level qualification either in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. At a time of increasing compliance and legislation with regards to safe legal operation of commercial goods vehicles on our roads, it is important we have the most qualified people managing such operations.”