Belfast Metropolitan as a Leadership College
In July 2012 we invited Northern Ireland colleges to share in the work of our National Skills Academy. Marie-Therese McGivern, Principal and CEO of Belfast Metropolitan College accepted the challenge and has since established Belfast Met as a Leadership College.
Leading by example
In early 2015, our two NI Leadership Colleges, Belfast Met and North West Regional College, suggested working with us to host an annual Northern Ireland Awards in the autumn of each year. In November of that year, Belfast Met hosted our inaugural Northern Ireland Creative & Cultural Skills Awards.
Over the last four years our relationship with Belfast Met has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to what we can achieve together in the future
We have just celebrated the second year of these awards, which will feed into our UK-wide Awards, held in March. There is already there is a great momentum behind celebrating young creative talent and the industry professionals and creative tutors who are investing in them.
This year Belfast Met also hosted our first ever Leadership Summit for the Leadership Colleges in the Skills Academy network. We met in their Titanic Quarter Campus, right at the heart of Belfast’s burgeoning film industry and opposite Titanic Belfast, recently voted as the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’.
What a great location for a dozen college Principals from across the UK to spend 24 hours together, discussing the challenges and opportunities within further education, and looking to the future of the network and what we want to achieve together!
Participation in the Skills Academy programme
Belfast Met has a strong creative curriculum and actively participates in our Skills Academy programme. This year students from the college are participating in the BBC Introducing Project, Design Museum Competition and Breaking into Music Conference.
We recently had students at the SSE Arena for a Production Day (Biffy Clyro) and also had three music acts from the college performing at our awards on the 8 December.
This participation is driven by committed staff who want to maximise the opportunities for their students to engage with industry and work on projects both within and outside of Northern Ireland.
We were delighted to see one of these tutors, Patricia Dickson, a lecturer in fashion, get recognised as a finalist in the Northern Ireland Awards this year.
In addition to working closely with Belfast Met on curriculum projects, we are also collaborating to deliver creative apprenticeships for the first time in Northern Ireland. Together we are piloting a new approach to delivery, one which is not based on the traditional model of ‘day release’ and set within an academic calendar.
As a lot of creative businesses do not operate ‘normal’ working hours (Monday to Friday, 9am -5pm), we need a flexible model of apprenticeship delivery which allows employers to recruit at any point during the year and for variable working patterns.
In partnership with Belfast Met we are working with experienced assessors to deliver a blended learning model for apprentices, using online tools to provide the flexibility required.
Looking to the future
Over the last four years our relationship with Belfast Met has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to what we can achieve together in the future, shaping both apprenticeship provision for the creative industries and creative education Northern Ireland.