The Limerick Institute of Technology is to expand its Limerick campus after securing €3.5m in funding from the Department of Education.

The institute says the building phase of the campus will provide 134 construction jobs and 100 jobs when fully operational.

The purchase of a site at Coonagh to develop a campus on the north side of the city will take in its first students in precision engineering next year.

It is expected to have over 500 students when the first phase is  completed by 2018.

It will also include the national engineering precision hub which will provide employee training and research for the manufacturing sector.

This expansion comes under its 2030 plan which has seen the opening of a major sports lab at its Thurles campus, and an international fashion incubator centre in Limerick city last month.

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O'Sullivan said: "The innovation of our educational institutes has been critical in attracting jobs and investment to Limerick in recent years and this investment will ensure that this model of success goes from strength to strength. 

"It will ensure that growing sectors of the economy can find high quality graduates right here in Limerick."

LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar said: "This is a critical capital investment made by the State which ensures that LIT will be a key catalyst helping Limerick and the wider Mid-West region to continue attracting further high value technology jobs. 

"It's an excellent response from Government to my call only a few weeks ago that without such investment in third-level facilities, we would not have enough graduates to fill all the new jobs created by industry in the region at present.