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Belfast Met scoops prestigious Times Education Supplement award for professional services

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Belfast Met has scooped a prestigious Times Education Supplement (Tes) Further Education Award in the Professional Services Team of the Year Category.

It was announced that the College’s Centre for Economic Development and Social Inclusion (CEDSI) had won the award at a glittering ceremony in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on March 22.

The CEDSI team, which is based at the state of the art e3 Springvale Campus has been highly effective in supporting business development in Northern Ireland through their business support programmes dedicated to enterprise, economic development and employability.

The CEDSI Team has secured multi-million pound contracts from a diverse group of organisations, helping it to realise its mission to make a fundamental impact on the economic and social success of the city by equipping its people, employers and communities with the education and skills for work.

The judges were particularly impressed by Belfast Metropolitan College’s work with the Northern Ireland Prison Service. This CEDSI led project included remodelling a young offenders’ centre, and rebranding it as Hydebank Wood College. This is a cross-college initiative that helps deliver skills for marginalised learners, boosting not only their life chances but growing the wider economy too.

Through its work with the prisons service, young offenders are able to develop essential skills and participate in courses up to level 3, helping to lower reoffending rates. The judges added that this was a “thoughtful, long-term project” that helped prisoners transition back into the community and integrate back into society upon their release from prison.

The college’s successful delivery of the Department for the Economy’s Assured Skills Programme has boosted the regional economy and stimulated many graduate jobs. The programme typically involves a learner taking part in a bespoke eight to 10-week pre-employment training programme, designed to prepare them for jobs in sectors including animation, cyber security and data analytics.

Belfast Met’s principal and CEO, Marie-Thérèse McGivern said: “Belfast Met’s Centre for Economic Development and Social Inclusion (CEDSI) is beyond thrilled to have won a prestigious Tes Award in the Professional Services Team of the Year category. This award is such an encouragement for the whole college and the CEDSI team in particular which strives to make a fundamental impact on the economic and social success of the city. The centre reaches out to some of the most marginalised and deprived in society such as prisoners and the unemployed, giving them improved prospects. The centre also carries out valuable work with local businesses and boasts extensive links and understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing these organisations. The work the college is carrying out is of vital importance and is central to shaping the future of the city of Belfast and beyond in a positive way.”

Stephen Exley, Tes FE editor, said: “Congratulations to all of our winners. This year’s shortlist was incredibly strong. The Tes FE Awards serve as a timely reminder of the brilliant and innovating work the further education sector does day in, day out.”

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