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Belfast Met staff and students honoured at first ever Further Education NI Excellence Awards


Seven Belfast Met students and two staff have been honoured in the first ever Further Education NI Excellence Awards which were which were hosted in Armagh.

The inaugural awards ceremony was held at the Armagh City Hotel on Tuesday night with awards categories reflecting the wide spectrum of learning levels and pathways available across the Further Education Colleges, from introductory and supported learning to apprenticeships, higher education and lifelong learning.

The ceremony was opened by the Economy Minister Conor Murphy who gave an address.

The evening also heard how so many award recipients have improved their job and life skills thanks to the incredible effort they have made during their studies at their local college. This included several people from Ukraine who have made their lives in Northern Ireland and have been supported through the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programme and other training to boost their existing skills to secure employment here.

This included Belfast Met student Yuliia Roi, a Ukrainian national who arrived in Northern Ireland in very difficult circumstances and who has worked hard to make a new life for herself. She has been on the ESOL course, starting at entry level, she has progressed towards level two and was commended for her determination and being a great example to other students in the class.

Another Belfast student honoured on the night was Ethan Kelly, who has been a culinary student since September 2021 and has shown incredible talent as a chef. He is currently studying for his Level Three Professional Cookery Apprenticeship and is apprenticing at Stock Kitchen under the guidance of chef Danny Millar. He has represented the college in several competitions, and earlier this year he won Student Culinarian of the Year at IFEX and reached the final of the Gordon Ramsay Academy in Woking.

Staff Recognition Awards for Lifetime Contributions were also presented on the night to two Belfast Met staff for their service to the College and the local community

Rachel Burns, Manager of Belfast Met’s Centre for Business Development was recognised for her leadership and implementation of the Skill Up programme as well as a range of sector-specific responses including the Chef Bootcamp, Tourism Hospitality Recovery Plan, she has played a pivotal role in positioning the College as a key player in local industry.

Ian Cairns, a Lecturer in IT Services who has been working at the College since 1989, was also honoured. Ian is the sole deliverer of qualifications to the print industry across the whole of Northern Ireland, supporting a wide range of Apprenticeships to companies such as Boxpak, MSO, Nuprint, and W & G Bairds.  He also regularly participates in residential activities organised for students.

Congratulating Belfast Met students who were recognised in the Awards, Belfast Met College Principal and CEO, Louise Warde Hunter said:

“I was very proud to see the Belfast Met students recognised at the first-ever Further Education NI Excellence Awards, which has been a brilliant platform for showcasing the talent and opportunities that are available through Further Education.

“I would like to congratulate the award recipients on their achievements and wish them the best for their future, whether they are continuing their path in education or starting out on their careers.

“It was also fantastic to hear about the achievements of our staff and I would also like to thank Ian and Rachel for their tireless service to Belfast Metropolitan College.”

 Chair of the Further Education Colleges Principals Group, commented:

"I am immensely proud to celebrate the achievements and commitment of our students and staff in the fields of Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Introductory Programmes, Level 3 Diplomas, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning.

“We're living through a transformative time in terms of skills, the education landscape is changing with new and exciting career paths for our learners. The Further Education sector has moved with those times in supporting and nurturing the superb talent we have across our colleges that will ensure the future success of our local economy.

“And of course that would not be possible without the dedication of our staff, so it is right to see them recognised for their decades of service to our colleges as well.”

Well done to all the very deserving award winners.

FE Excellence Student Awards presented by Principal & Chief Executive, Louise Warde Hunter & Governing Body Chair, Michele Corkey.

FE Excellence Award for Introductory Programme - Yuliia Roi

FE Excellence Award for Supported Learning - Corey Kennedy

FE Excellence Award for Level 2/Traineeship - Nadia Brown

FE Excellence Award for Level 3 Further Education - Ethan Kelly

FE Excellence Award for Higher Education - Cian Cash

FE Excellence Award for Lifelong Learning - Ainsley Graham

FE Excellence Apprentice Award presented by Ian Reid (Ian Reid Plumbing and Heating) - Jack Fenton

Staff Recognition Awards for Lifetime Contributions to Further Education presented by Director of Further Education, Department for the Economy Louise Watson.

Lecturer IT Services - Ian Cairns

Centre Manager for Business Development - Rachel Burns

Image 1 - Pictured are Belfast Met winners: staff member Lifetime Achievement Award winners Rachel Burns, student winners Ethan Kelly, Yuliia Roi, Belfast Met principal and chief executive, Louise Warde Hunter, Corey Kennedy and Nadia Brown.

Image 2 - Pictured are Belfast Met principal and chief executive, Louise Warde Hunter, student Jack Fenton and employer Ian Reid from Ian Reid Plumbing and Heating

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