St John’s Central College of Cork City publishes 5-year strategy plan

15 May 2021
By Tom Collins

St. John’s Central College were joined by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. as they unveiled their latest five-year strategic plan this week (13 May 2021 ) through a virtual event which outlined the further education and training college’s core aims and objectives from 2021 thru to 2025.

The new strategic plan for the college was developed through a series of consultations with staff, students, the community and stakeholders and within the college in conjunction with stakeholders and the Board of Management and aims to enable the college to “adapt approaches and priorities as circumstances evolve.”

The strategy plan also stresses the need to maintain their reputation for delivering the highest quality of teaching and learning, whilst extending their range of provision and services to meet the needs of our community.

Principal at St. John’s College Paula McCarthy delivered the keynote speech at the virtual event and paid tribute to all who contributed to the development of their five-year roadmap whilst expressing her thanks to the Taoiseach, who was in attendance, for their ongoing support of the college throughout the pandemic.

She said: “It’s great to be launching our plan at this time when signs of recovery are palpable.  It has taken many people much time and work to get us here and I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this Strategic Plan.

“This Plan lays out our goals for next four years and the actions needed to achieve them. We believe this plan does more than that. It says what our college stands for, where it has come from, and where it wants to get to.  It speaks to our staff and students and it radiates outward to our community, partner institutions, industry and creative collaborators. In essence this plan is about connecting – connecting learning, creating pathways, linking employers and of course, connecting people.

Ms. McCarthy added: “All who helped put this plan together were conscious that we were building on an excellent track record.  We are immensely proud of our educational heritage and indeed it would be foolish to turn our backs on what preceding generations have managed to create.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, T.D. also addressed those present at the virtual launch via live stream and paid tribute to the college and their staff:

Micheál Martin

He said: “St. John’s Central College is now firmly established as a first-class facility for Further Education and Training for adult learners from both Cork and across the country.

“The Strategic Plan being launched today is accessible, achievable and clearly outlines the key steps needed to meet St. John’s priorities as a Further Education and Training College of the Future.”

Also attending the launch was Chief Executive of Cork Education and Training Board Denis Leamy, who said the development of the new strategy had come at a crucial time.

Denis Leamy

He said: “The launch of this strategy comes at a pivotal time for Cork Education and Training Board, and St. John’s College, as we move forward and begin the implementation of the steps necessary to create the Cork “FET College of the Future” model that will provide for the ongoing delivery and development of Further Education and Training in Cork to meet the needs of learners, employers and the communities within Cork City and County.

“The goals and priorities set out in the St. Johns Strategic Plan align with Cork ETB’s overall strategy and direction for Further Education and Training in Cork, and over the coming years St. John’s and its sister colleges, and other services centres within the ETB will continue to develop and adapt, with the primary focus and purpose of providing learners with the type and quality of programmes they require.

“There is a bright future ahead for the learners and staff of St. John’s College and I look forward to working to deliver the strategy objectives over the few years ahead,” Mr Leamy concluded.

As part of their five-year strategic plan, Ms. McCarthy also said the college would be different in “a myriad of ways” by 2025 but added that the college was focussing on two specific elements that would be a primary focus over the next number of years – becoming a ‘green campus and striving further for quality and excellence in the education programmes delivered through the college.

The have made the following commitments in relation to their Green Campus objectives:

  • Work to achieve the An Taisce Green Campus award. The college will host a number of sustainability and biodiversity projects on campus such as the St John’s Bees.
  • Enhance their current courses and develop new courses which have a sustainability impact. The areas the college have identified are Grow It Yourself; bike repairs; sustainable craftsmanship; and waste management.
  • Partner with the community to inform and educate people on climate action and sustainability.

The college have also committed to striving for an increased emphasis on excellence in Education and Training and have said they will “develop and practice new teaching and learning with initiatives in digital learning,” in addition to “ensuring courses and programmes are of the highest quality, communicating effectively with students, further enhancing the course offerings of St John’s and improving internal operations to benefit the quality of courses.”

Ms. McCarthy also stressed that the educational development of students would remain to the forefront and said a team effort was required for a successful implementation of the new strategy but that she was confident of its success:

“Anyone who has set foot inside this building knows the student experience is at the heart of what we do – we position our skills and resources to enable our students to improve their life chances and enjoy a life of continuous thriving – We will remain true to our core values –We have a track record and we’re building on it.

“This strategic plan is our collective future – the product of all our input – its successful implementation will require our combined effort.  Within these walls I am confident that our strong committed staff, both academic and non-academic, together with our vibrant student body – working together we will make it work,” she concluded.

View the interactive PDF document of St John’s College’s five-year strategic plan or take a virtual tour of the college by visiting the website –

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