Ulster first bears fruit

April 27, 2001

Ulster University has teamed up with Greenmount College of Agriculture and Horticulture to offer Northern Ireland's first degree programme in information technology tailored for the agricultural and food processing sector.

The programme, which will be Northern Ireland's first foundation degree programme, focuses on building IT skills with the province's largest industry.

Modules include database systems in the agriculture and food processing industries, web development and implementation, hardware architecture and networks. The three-year programme, whose first intake is in September, includes a year of work experience.

The degree is backed by many of the province's major employers in the food and agriculture sector and by IT companies developing and supplying hardware and software systems to the sector. A number of companies have already offered student work placements. Paul McGurnaghan, Greenmount's head of education development, said: "This degree is a response to changing needs as the agriculture and food-processing industry becomes more high-tech. There is a significant demand in all industries for IT, but the agri-food industry has unique and specialised needs that we feel make this course necessary."

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