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Belfast Met scores hat-trick at Creative and Cultural Awards

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Belfast Met scooped multiple awards at the recent creative and cultural skills show held at its E3 Springfield Road Campus.

Student Ray Walsh, from Larne, won Creative and Cultural student of the Year and the colleges collaboration with the BBC on the Make it Digital programme scooped the Education and Industry Partnership Award. Teacher Gareth Stewart was also highly commended in the Creative Tutor category.

The aim of the event was to celebrate the amazing talent here in Northern Ireland as well as the hard work and dedication of those in industry and education who foster and develop future generations.

Sara Graham, Nations Director for Creative & Cultural Skills explained: “The Creative Industries is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, yet in the eyes of many it is not seen as a viable career option. There is a clear disconnect and lack of awareness about the wide variety of careers on offer within the Creative Industries. We need to look at ways that we can better support young people in this hugely diverse sector to help them realise their ambitions.”

The event explored these opportunities and also celebrated the success of the NI Creative Employment Programme, supported by the Arts Council of NI National Lottery Funding.

Belfast Met’s Principal and CEO, Marie-Thérèse McGivern said: “I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to all of the amazingly talented winners of the NI Creative and Cultural Skills Awards our own Ray Walsh, Gareth Stewart and the teams involved in the BBC Make it Digital programme.

“The college places a strong emphasis on its creative provision including delivering courses in this fantastic e3 campus under the auspice of forthcoming Belfast TV & Film School such as Broadcast Journalism, Animation, Digital Publishing and Film and TV production and fashion management and computer game design in our Titanic Quarter campus. We pride ourselves that our excellent teaching staff all have vital industry experience in their respective fields which is invaluable when instilling the insider knowledge and know-how that’s required to work in the creative industries.”

Ray Walsh's tutor, Gareth Stewart, who was also highly commended in the Creative Tutor category, said: "Ray began studying at Belfast Met on the Level 3 Graphic Design programme, before progressing to the HND in Graphic Design, which he passed with distinction. His passion for the subject, plus his quirky personality makes him an ideal student - hardworking, keen to learn, and always willing to help fellow students when the need arises. We knew this guy was destined for great things, and on behalf of the whole course team, I can safely say we are thoroughly delighted that he has won this award.”

Belfast Met’s Curriculum Business Lead, Glen McMahon, said he was thrilled that the Make it Digital programme has been recognised: “It takes a lot of co-ordination, a good mix of committed people and skill set to contribute to a unique programme to those unemployed or looking to make a change in their career. The mentoring and support offered to the learners has been fantastic along with the case studies and journeys to date are amazing to hear, hence the retention and completion rates are higher than most other employability programmes. We are not finished just yet as I am planning the 7th cohort of the MiD programme for January 2018.”

Emma Dunseith, Executive Producer at BBC NI had this to say: “The BBC’s Make It Digital initiative aims to shine a light on the world of digital in a major UK-wide initiative to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology. Our partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College brought this aim to life in Northern Ireland, providing an accredited traineeship; offering digital, media and employability skills.”

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