Project Name

Higher Education 4.0: Enabling agile responsiveness from Higher Education to the skill needs of individuals and employers and providing highly flexible access to quality higher education through new technology enabled models.


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Project Team

Professor Jacqueline McCormack – Project Lead

Dr Carina Ginty – Career and Learning Pathways Project Lead

Gavin Clinch – Innovation Projects Lead

Provide a short description of the project

The Higher Education 4.0 Project has two distinct aims:

  1. Providing learning pathways into and through Higher Education
  1. Lean agile programme and content creation.


Career and Learning Pathways, provides RPL and careers/study advisory services via, focused on accessibility and future proofing learners with industry relevant skills.


The development of and additional services under the Career and Learning Pathways programme is informed by regular engagement with employers via the Business Liaison Team and various industry engagement events.

The team have also developed a Strengths PATH Programme which has a focus on young people who have left, or are at risk from leaving, education early.  By helping young people understand their strengths and how, via higher education, these can translate into a rewarding career this programme aims enhance the accessibility of Higher Education. Further information is available via



The Agile programme and content creation stream involves building a system to respond quickly to employer and learner needs in an agile, efficient, and cost-effective way.


Projects completed to date include: work-based learning programmes in Furniture Design and Manufacturing, a bridging certificate in computing for learners in the MSc Data Science delivered using reusable learning content, the implementation of Remote Labs, a BA in Hospitality Management, and the development of a ‘Maker Space’ for ATU students which will also be accessible to local youth groups.


The focus of these projects is on the learner and how new teaching techniques and technologies can drive educational benefits for all types of learners.  All of this is supported by an instructional design team focused on delivering a best-in-class learning experience.

Highlight interesting collaborations / partnerships

Collaborations to date include:

  • The RPL National Project
  • Rosetta hub for remote labs
  • Failte Ireland
  • The Irish Hotels Federation
  • The Insurance Institute of Ireland
  • Medtronic
  • Siro
  • Merit Medical
  • Regeneron
  • Boston Scientific
  • Georgian University, Canada
  • The State University of New York
  • Southern New Hampshire University.

Provide a brief summary of the project’s key enterprise engagements

Pictured: Launch Event


Collaboration with enterprise is a cornerstone of the Higher Education 4.0 project. Understanding the training needs of industry in our region and working with them to help address skills gaps and future proof careers is one of the aims of this project and of the ATU.

The project is collaborating with enterprise and industry through:

  • New programme development
  • Work Based Learning qualifications (e.g., Hospitality Management) co-designed with industry
  • Industry engagement steering committee for the Career and Learning Pathways Service
  • Industry pilots of MyCareerPath programme which lead to continuing improvement of service.


Key Engagements: Career and Learning Pathways

To date, there has been excellent collaboration and engagement from Industry with the Higher Education 4.0 project, and this can be evidenced by the number of employers who have engaged in both the pilots and the various workshops.  Case Studies are available here:

They see the potential of the project addressing some of the challenges they currently face, for example: employee retention, skills shortages, opportunities for upskilling and reskilling of their employees and preparing employees for rapid transformations in the workplace.

They also are extremely positive about opportunities of working closely with Higher Education and the workshops allowed employers feel they are being listened to so that collectively, we can support growth and prosperity in the region and beyond.

Key Engagements: Agile Programme and Content Creation

Overall, there has been very positive engagement with enterprise partners.  Some work packages require input upfront, while others require it towards the end. In the former for example is our work on Digital Credentials where engagement with the enterprise partner The Irish Insurance Institute has taken the form of numerous on-site meetings, scoping and requirements work which is now leading to a joint implementation plan.

Another example in this category is our work on the new Digital Media programme, where enterprise partners have helped shape the direction and content of the course based on their needs. For the latter, an example is the Work Based Programme in Furniture Design and Manufacture where there is active involvement by over 25 enterprise partners in facilitating student placements.  In both cases, the relationships with enterprise partners have been deepened through the on-going work and collaboration.

The Chief Executive of the Irish Hotels federation, Tim Fenn, and the Head of Tourism Careers (acting), Sarah Dolly at Failte Ireland have provided strong support to the Work-Based Learning programme in Hospitality Management at ATU Donegal campus.


Tim Fenn provided a firm letter of support in which he stated that the programme, “will help address the talent development and retention challenges faced by industry and support our collective work in showcasing the industry as one where long-term, sustainable, and rewarding careers can be developed”.


Project Showcase



Social Media


Other Resources

Videos include launch video and Instructional Design Resources


Last updated: Monday 24 April 2023

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