29th May 2012
Top marks for Colleges
The excellence of Northern Ireland's further education colleges has been recognised at a gala event in Parliamnent Buildings' Long Gallery.
It was organised to mark the growing number of key awards and acknowledgements being by the sector.
Speaking at the recent event Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said: "This is a celebration of the many regional, national and international awards and accolades, which the further education sector has secured for its economic development activities, in the face of very stiff competition.
"Further Education Means Business, my Department's strategy for the sector, articulates that further education should be at the heart of lifelong learning, in order to strengthen economic development, enhance social inclusion, and advance the individual's skills and learning.
"The variety and extent of the awards indicates the breadth and quality of provision being delivered by the six further education colleges, across Northern Ireland and firmly aligns with the strategy."
Notable awards included:
- Belfast Metropolitan College achieving a Mark of Excellence in the European Foundation for Quality Management;
- Northern Regional College securing the UTV Business Eye Award for its partnership with Ryobi Aluminium castings;
- South Eastern Regional College wining a Green Gown Award, in recognition of the college's Environmental Skills Centre;
- South West College winning three Association of Colleges Beacon Awards, including the highly-coveted President's Award, for the college's economic engagement through the Innotech Centre, and its college/ schools partnerships, through its STEM centre; and
- Southern Regional College winning an Association of Colleges Beacon Award for Enterprise.
The chief executive for Colleges NI, the membership body representing all of Northern Ireland's colleges, Gerry Campbell added: "Northern Ireland should be justifiably proud of its colleges. With £340 million capital investment over the past 15 years and over 4,000 highly motivated expert frontline lecturers, Northern Ireland can say that it has a world class infrastructure across our college sector.
"I welcome the recognition of the excellence in our colleges and particularly the awards that highlight how we are leading the way across the UK in supporting economic development, our students and promoting the sustainability agenda and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)."