New deal for hundreds of Saudis to study in Ireland


SEVERAL HUNDRED Saudi students will travel to Ireland for vocational training under an agreement reached between the Government and the authorities there.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe, who is in the Middle East on a trade mission, announced the agreement yesterday. He said it would boost the economy and help to create local jobs.

Students will learn vocational skills at Carlow Institute of Technology, Cork Institute of Technology and Blanchardstown Institute of Technology in Dublin.

They will travel under Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Scholarship Programme.

Mr O’Keeffe announced the agreement following a meeting with the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Technical Vocational Training Corporation, Dr Ali Nasser Al Ghafis, in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He said the arrangement 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 the Saudi authorities.

“Between them they have 150 Saudi students studying degree programmes across a range of areas, including construction, engineering, software and financial services,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

The Minister said about 800 Saudis are studying in Ireland, and it was estimated they were worth some €20 million to the economy annually.