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Belfast Met scoops highest national Honour
Belfast Met was delighted to be announced as a recipient the Queen’s Anniversary Prize at a reception in St James’ Palace last night. The prize is the highest national Honour awarded in the UK for further and higher education, and is granted by The Queen every two years.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize recognises outstanding work by UK colleges and universities that show quality and innovation, and deliver real benefit to the wider world and public through education and training.
The College was recently (2017) designated as the Curriculum Hub for the Digital IT sector in Northern Ireland, following an intensive period of development and capital investment. They are as a result the lead college in the region for education and training in Information and Communications Technology ICT and are recognised by the Government and IT sector as a Centre of Excellence. Alongside the leading edge delivery of programmes to support business, the College’s outreach programmes include coding clubs for young people, summer technology camps for 16-19 year old female learners and a partnership with the BBC Academy and Accenture to bring the BBC’s “Make it Digital” traineeships to Northern Ireland in 2016. The latter is a way of enabling young people not in education, employment or training to take up career opportunities in the digital creative industries. This, along with a range of other initiatives to enhance College curriculum has collectively seen enrolments increase by over 30% and a dramatic increase in student success rates from 50% in 2010 to 96% in 2018. The College also offers one of the first Higher Level Apprenticeships in cybersecurity at a UK FE college, and have delivered around forty IT related business development projects for Small and Medium Enterprises over the last five years, receiving a TES award in 2019 for employer engagement and professional services. The College made an important contribution to support the development of the Employability Skills component of the Belfast City Deal, worth £850m over the next ten years.
Belfast Met Principal and CEO Marie-Thérèse McGivern on receiving the award said: “We are thrilled to have been honoured with this prestigious award which recognises the achievements of staff and students who have been working with many local and global businesses and organisations that support the College.”
“Belfast Met is a centre of excellence which is leading the way in the curriculum for digital IT in Northern Ireland, and creating a talent pipeline for the sector in the Province.”
Dr Jonathan Heggarty MBE, Director of Curriculum & Learner success said: “This esteemed award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff in developing leading edge IT courses and initiatives in partnership with industry. This vital work has enabled our College to provide learners with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this exciting sector.”
Director of Development, Damian Duffy told of his pride in receiving this recognition on behalf of the College:
“We are very proud to receive this award which recognises the part that Belfast Met has played in developing employability and skills in the key growth sector of IT.”