Dundalk Institute of Technology campus with a windmill in the background

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) Corporate Partnership Programme (CPP)

Who we are

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has earned its reputation as the leading higher education provider in the North Leinster- South Ulster region (serving Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, Meath, North County Dublin, Armagh and Down) through its first- class teaching and learning, research and engagement. Set in a state-of-the-art 87-acre campus, DkIT provides quality learning and teaching to circa 5,440 students across four Schools in Business and Humanities, Health and Science, Engineering and Informatics and Creative Arts at undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Level 6 to PhD level, in addition to its track record of excellence in craft apprenticeships. DkIT is strategically positioned mid-way along the Dublin-Belfast Corridor, on the border with Northern Ireland, which bestows unique characteristics to the Institute.

What we did /how we did it

A key strategic initiative of DkIT is to build on its track record of engagement through the development of the DkIT Corporate Partnership Programme (CPP). The CPP provides a strategic and structured framework for the development of sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships between DkIT and external organisations in such areas as new programme development, student placements, targeted CPD programmes, postgraduate programmes, research, sponsorship, staff placement, student/staff mentoring and advisory boards. The CPP is encapsulated within a formal, but non-legal binding, agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out a range of agreed and specified time-bound activities between DkIT and the strategic partner. The CPP facilitates enhanced and informed access to a wealth of expertise and knowledge within DkIT for participating organisations. Organisations can avail of opportunities to meet with researchers, staff, students and senior managers of the Institute. This enables the exploration and development of ideas, establishes a dialogue that support, and drives multiple agendas within strategy, teaching and learning, research and innovation and engagement. This ultimately contributes to the economic, social and cultural development of the region in line with regional objectives and national policy.

Impact Achieved 

DkIT endeavoured to identify and target progressive organisations to become members of the DkIT Corporate Partnership Programme. To date four such progressive organisations across agri-food, engineering, the creative sector and sports technology have signed up to the process, each seeing engagement with third level educational organisations an integral part of their respective strategies. Through the CPP, a tailored three-year agreement and MOU has been developed to facilitate enhanced engagement. Any agreement through the DkIT
CPP typically facilitates:

  1. Dedicated DkIT Senior Staff Member Contact Broker
  2. Input to HEI Programme Development
  3. Bespoke programme development and delivery
  4. Access to collaborative research and innovation
  5. Workforce training and education
  6. Guest Speaker Series
  7. Increased Brand Awareness
  8. Opportunity to Contribute to the Future Development of DkIT
  9. Networking Opportunities
  10. Opportunities to explore sponsorships in the form of faculty and research equipment, student bursaries and prizes
  11. Access to talented students and graduates with discipline specific and employability skills and attributes required by employers.

Since its inception the CPP has delivered in a number of key areas such as supporting DkIT in the development of the Institute’s new Strategic Plan 2020-2022, co-development of
undergraduate course modules and access to specific industry technology, co-development of bespoke course and outreach delivery of same, guest lecturing of CPP organisation staff,
brokered specific access to students adding value to the organisations prospective employee talent pipeline, access to applied research student projects and research and innovation
collaboration projects both national and EU funded.

What we learned

While the DkIT CPP innovative initiative is at an early stage, the mutual benefits to both parties is evident. The teaching and learning experience for both DkIT staff and DkIT students has been greatly enhanced. At operational level, this initiative has facilitated greater coherence and integration of approaches and activities between Schools and Functional Areas within the Institute. External organisations have been afforded a bridge to access multiple resources in a Higher Education Institute in a “whole of the organisation” approach.

DkIT’s CPP can be replicated with strategically important organisations across industry and the community to develop sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships within the region. It provides the framework for ensuring the continuing relevance of institutional strategy, teaching and learning, research and innovation while supporting innovation and development within the external organisation.

The sustainability of the project is provided for within the CPP agreement in terms of documenting and agreeing key activities across finite timeframes with a built-in review process. Sustainability is a measure of the positive impacts and benefits accrued by a structured and strategic approach to the employer engagement agenda. The review process provides the opportunity to deepen and develop the strategic relationship that can extend beyond the lifetime of the original CPP agreement.

The Model of Engagement through the CPP is replicable across all organisations. However, the scaling of the initiative is best achieved through a clustering approach to sectoral needs in
regional locations. This is a natural evolution of the model of engagement and can address a number of national priorities and regional needs with multiple companies with similar challenges in areas such as fintech, engineering and creative industries.

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