Education news

Belfast Met scores hat-trick at Creative and Cultural Awards

Gareth Stewart, Sara Graham from Creative and Cultural Skills and Ray Walsh

A FURTHER education college has been awarded for its work in support of creative industries.

Belfast Met won three awards at the Creative and Cultural Skills show held at its E3 Springfield Road campus.

The ceremony and prizes are designed to "celebrate the unsung heroes of the creative industries".

These include giving young people opportunities to work and learn in the creative industries; ensure that employers benefit from a skilled generation of talent and help the creative industries continue on a course of economic growth.

Courses supportive of the creative industries at Belfast Met include those in art, design and craft; computing, IT; fashion and textiles; performing arts and music.

Graphic design student Ray Walsh, from Larne, won student of the year and the college's collaboration with the BBC on the Make it Digital programme won the education and industry partnership award. Teacher Gareth Stewart was highly commended in the creative tutor category.

Sara Graham, Nations Director for Creative and Cultural Skills said the creative industries was one of the fastest growing sectors in Britain and Northern Ireland.

"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," she said.

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 Principal Marie-Thérèse McGivern said the college placed a strong emphasis on its creative provision.

"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," she said.

Ray Walsh's tutor, Gareth Stewart, praised his student.

"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," Mr Stewart said.

"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."

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