Belfast Met have announced a £3 million partnership and the signing of a Service Level Agreement between Belfast Metropolitan College, North West Regional College and the Northern Ireland Prison Service to provide prisoners in Maghaberry, Hydebank Wood College and Magilligan with new learning and skills opportunities.
The initiative builds on the College’s ambition to deliver its commitment to social inclusion by providing students with relevant and engaging programmes both in custody and upon release. Belfast Met’s aim is to improve the life chances of all students by building their self-confidence through learning and clearly demonstrating how education and skills acquisition will provide positive opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration.
Belfast Met Principal and Chief Executive Marie-Thérèse McGivern was in attendance at the launch held at Hydebank Wood College stating –
“Belfast Met are delighted to be working in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Prison Service to deliver the ground breaking College at Hydebank Wood and the provision of learning and skills at Maghaberry. Our commitment to social inclusion embraces all learners as we provide students with relevant and engaging programmes both in custody and upon release. Our tutors aim to improve the life chances of all students by building their self-confidence through learning and clearly demonstrating how education and skills acquisition will provide positive opportunities for themselves and in turn reduces the risk of reoffending”.
Department for Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry commented –
“The partnership with Further Education Colleges will ensure that prisoners are able to access a range of high quality accredited training opportunities that will equip them with the skills they need to enhance their employment prospects upon release, and in turn make a positive contribution to both the economy and wider society.”
Department of Justice Minister David Ford said –
“The partnership between the Prison Service, Belfast Metropolitan College and the North West Regional College is a core part of the work to reform our prisons. This will deliver a comprehensive education and vocational curriculum which will focus on prisoner’s individual needs.”
A range of subjects including numeracy and literacy, IT, arts, bricklaying, hospitality and catering as well as horticulture and ESOL will be included in the curriculum for each facility. The initiative will create 33 new posts which include trainer/assessors, management and administrative positions.
Pictured: Principal Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Minister Stephen Farry, Sue McAllister (NI Prison Service), Minister David Ford, Leo Murphy (Principal North West Regional College)