Prove we are not a 'poor relation', says adviser

April 17, 1998

An historic peace deal and the long-awaited go-ahead for a new campus promise exciting times for Ulster's higher and futher education.

Ulster University is challenging the government to prove that it does not see Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom's "poor relation", writes Olga Wojtas.

Roger Ellis, the university's strategic adviser on education policy, has called on the government to bring hundreds of high-tech jobs to the province by siting the University for Industry's proposed call centre in the Springvale business park in Belfast. A key element of the UfI pilot scheme in Sunderland is a freephone service offering potential learners advice on relevant courses.

"We are ready and willing to provide all the support and backup services this exciting development will need," Professor Ellis said.

"Siting the UfI call centre in West Belfast, one of the most deprived and disadvantaged areas of the country, would be a massive confidence building measure."

Professor Ellis warned that the province could become the UfI's poor relation, saying there was no doubt that the chief executive for England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be based in London.

"I'm very concerned that Northern Ireland's needs will be marginalised."

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