A UNIQUE new event has celebrated the achievements of Belfast Metropolitan College and employers involved in its delivery of training programmes and apprenticeships.
The first-ever Apprenticeship and Training Awards were held in the new e3 building at the Met’s Springvale Campus.
Successful students received awards recognising their achievements through ApprenticeshipsNI, Programme Led Apprenticeship (PLA) or Training for Success programmes, in areas including IT, print production and construction.
The inaugural awards ceremony also recognised seven employers who have shown a sustained commitment to providing work opportunities or employment to individuals within any of the strands of training programmes at Belfast Met.
Principal and chief executive at Belfast Met, Marie-Thérèse McGivern congratulated the award winners: “Belfast Metropolitan College is dedicated to playing an important role in providing the talent to fill future jobs within Northern Ireland by supporting students into employment, better employment or a route towards employment.
“The training programmes we offer are a fantastic way of equipping our learners with economically relevant skills and qualifications that are essential for their future career prospects.
“We work side by side with employers to provide appropriate and innovative training opportunities, so I would like to thank and congratulate these highly committed organisations who have helped to ensure our learners have future proof skills and qualifications.”
Deputy Secretary at the Department for Employment and Learning, Catherine Bell said: “DEL has recently embarked upon a review of apprenticeships and youth training which will provide us with the opportunity to match skills to the specific needs of employers. The review will ensure that the economy benefits from the right people with the right skills, and that we build upon and enhance existing provision to ensure we have a world class system of youth training and apprenticeships.”
Meanwhile, the Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster has said increasing the level of female entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland is more important than ever.
Speaking at the Clinton Centre International Summer School in Enniskillen, as part of the Summer School’s Panel Day, entitled Women in Society the minister said: “Women remain the largest under-represented group when it comes to enterprise in Northern Ireland. Despite the level of female entrepreneurship rising to a record high in 2011, Northern Ireland continues to have the lowest ratio of female to male entrepreneurial activity rate (38%) and is 10% lower than the UK as a whole.”
She continued: “The Northern Ireland Executive’s Economic Strategy sets out the steps that we need to take to grow the private sector and improve our economic competitiveness. We need to encourage a greater number of people to start new, innovative, globally focused businesses and Invest Northern Ireland’s recently launched Regional Start Initiative aims to do just that.”