Education news

Belfast Met launches ground-breaking new supported learning hub

Belfast Metropolitan College principal Marie-Thérèse McGivern with students Rhianna Jackson and Lauren Myers

A NEW centre for supported learning students will help young people develop vital life and coping skills, making them more independent.

It is hoped that a facility at Belfast Metropolitan College's Millfield site will open up further mainstream and employability options.

The ground-breaking Live and Learn hub is aimed at supported learning students across Northern Ireland. Belfast Met's supported learning work is designed to deliver excellence for those with learning difficulties.

It offers programmes in an inclusive and supportive environment, which allow young learners to avail of vocational training, employability skills, budgeting and money management skills - in preparation for adult life.

Alison Anderson, the college's curriculum area manager for supported learning, said the opening of the new hub was an important milestone.

"The hub and the students who use it have instilled a brand new positive vibe in the Millfield site. The new social areas are hiving with both supported learning and mainstream students mingling, socialising. There is a very real and tangible sense of community here," she said.

Student Samuel Bradshaw (17) from Belfast said: "I absolutely love studying at the Live and Learn hub. I have made so many new friends and the staff are so helpful. It's a great place to learn and spend time and I feel so comfortable here."

Sharon Rivers, head of supported learning, said the hub was "nothing short of a centre of excellence for young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities" - a ground breaking FE facility for learners up to level one.

"We are proud to say that we're the foremost provider in NI of full and part-time supported learning programmes with 800 students enrolled on our FT courses and 400 on our part-time programmes," she added.

"We have taken a joined up and collaborative approach to planning this facility which wholly supports the curriculum, nurturing students’ creativity and overall life skills, developing employability for those whom educational and employment opportunities may be limited as they move into adulthood.

"This milestone highlights this college's commitment to social inclusion and widening participation, to the developing of skills and actively engaging with providers to ensure student progression. This new hub is a major step forward and we look forward to commencing phase two of this project on the Millfield site in Sept 2017."

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