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Belfast Met celebrates 110 years with vision for the future

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At the beginning of a new academic year, Belfast Met is truly ‘leading the city to work’ as it marks the start of its 110th anniversary year, launches a new Corporate Plan (2016-20)

All of these important milestones will be celebrated at a special event at the College’s e3 campus on the Springfield Road today.

The College, now the largest and longest established further and higher education college in Northern Ireland, is one of three landmark institutions marking 110 years of existence in 2016, alongside Belfast City Hall and the Royal Victoria Hospital – where, fittingly, alumni are often to be found on the payroll!

Like the famous civic seat and the RVH, the College is still making a difference and is building on its proud and ground-breaking history by being the first further education facility in the UK to launch a Business School later this year.

Back in 1906, the Belfast Municipal Technical Institute had a focus on engineering, ship building, textiles and general manufacturing, providing the ‘workforce of tomorrow’ in response to industrial need.

Now headquartered from the iconic TQ building in the Titanic Quarter, the College is developing that famous heritage by looking to the future.

The College will continue to provide full-time and part-time programmes that are accessible, flexible and industry-endorsed, with strategic links and partnerships to the local business community and employers, to help provide a ‘ready to work workforce’ – indeed, the College slogan is #leadingthecitytowork.

The 110th anniversary also coincides with a £1m investment in upgrading the teaching and training facilities in the e3 building at the Springvale campus, to accommodate a wider range of digitally-delivered academic professional short course programmes. This investment will help the College deliver the Belfast Business School later this year, which will be a first of its kind in the UK.

According to Director of Development, Damian Duffy: “Building on the success of the Assured Skills Academies, where the College has supported 500 graduates progress into employment, we have been working to develop a suite of blended learning programmes across a range of subject areas.”

Meanwhile, the new Corporate Plan for 2016–2020 sets out the College’s ambitions for the future, which are closely and inevitably intertwined with those of the City itself, during what is proving to be a period of huge change in the wider government, economic and technological landscapes.

Underpinning the plan is a set of core values: Collaboration, Ambition, Respect and Excellence – and the use of data, analysis and evidence to support learners onwards to 2020.

At a special event to herald these momentous events for the College and pave the way for the launch of the Business School, marketing expert and award-winning author Steve McKee,), will give a keynote address on ‘Helping Businesses Thrive’.

Steve is just one example of the dynamic and inspirational master classes and seminars that will take place at the Belfast Business School when it launches later this year.

Steve McKee said: “I am delighted to be a part of today’s event which marks the proud heritage of Belfast Met and to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience of revitalising organisations that have stalled or become stale.

“In today’s business world it is imperative to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge required for an increasingly competitive and demanding workforce, and the work the college is doing in ‘leading the city to work’ is to be celebrated.”

Belfast Met’s Principal and Chief Executive, Marie-Thérèse McGivern said that Belfast Met is still at the forefront of delivering skills and learning after 110 years.

“Our college was founded as the Belfast Municipal Technical Institute in 1906 at the height of the City’s industrial might and in direct response to the demands of industry,” she said.

“It provided the knowledge, creativity and innovation that drove industry forward, equipping the workforce with the technical skills on which the city nurtured and thrived.

“This proud heritage endures today as we continue to develop individuals with the skills and knowledge required for an increasingly competitive and demanding workforce.

“Belfast Met makes a colossal social and economic contribution to the local economy and will continue to build on this, working closely with our 500 plus valued partner employers to deliver this.

“We attract over 20,000 learners per year and continually adapt and develop our curriculum to keep pace with shifting economic and skills demands. In addition to equipping the city of Belfast and beyond with the skills for work, we are also a £60m business in our own right, providing employment to over 1,000 people.”

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