Further education colleges ‘the Way to Go’ to get the higher education skills you need

Date published: 21 March 2023

Local further education colleges are ‘the Way to Go’ for studying towards a foundation degree, HNC or HND.

Level 4 and 5 provision - The Way to Go
Pictured at Belfast Met e3 campus are (front row) Heather Cousins, DfE; and Louise Warde Hunter, Belfast Met; with Belfast Met level 4 and 5 students (l-r) Scott Donnelly, David Hanna, Rab McPhee, Victoria Castellanos, Esther Magowan and Matthew Ardies.

These level 4 and 5 qualifications, which are all available at local colleges, can open up a wide range of career options, or pave the way to further study, in areas such as film, television and media; healthcare; engineering and construction; and ICT.

Students studying for level 4 and 5 qualifications in screen skills at Belfast Met were involved in the making of a television advertisement which is currently on screens highlighting vocational qualifications as ‘the Way to Go’.

Heather Cousins, Head of Skills and Education in the Department for the Economy, visited the college during filming. She said:

“People with qualifications at level 4 and 5 are in demand in the local economy, and our local further education colleges are the ideal option for anyone seeking this type of learning.

“The varied offering available at all of our colleges can suit learners who do not wish to go to straight to university from school and who would prefer a ‘hands-on’ learning style.

“The students at Belfast Met who were involved in filming the advert to promote level 4 and 5 study are a fantastic demonstration of how learning can go hand-in-hand with the world of work – providing valuable experience which can enhance career prospects.

“The advert is the first virtual production to be shot in Northern Ireland, which highlights the cutting edge nature of not only the type of learning that is available, but also the state-of-the-art facilities that colleges offer.”

Ms Cousins added:

“The skills being learned align well with our 10X Economic Vision and associated Skills Strategy, which seek to position Northern Ireland as one of the world’s leading small economies, with innovation at its heart.”

Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Met, and Chair of the Further Education College Principals’ Group, said:

“In common with all further education colleges across Northern Ireland, Belfast Met offers a wide variety of work-relevant further and higher education courses, many designed and delivered in collaboration with industry. The college provides a range of flexible starting points for students, all designed to help them get the skills and knowledge they need to take that next step on their career path.

“I am delighted to see Belfast Met students involved in the production and filming of this advert promoting the study of level 4 and 5. As well as providing invaluable practical experience, this enabled them to have first-hand experience of the film-making world. With the recent amazing Oscar win by a Northern Ireland film, this could not be more timely.

“I am excited to see what the future holds for these talented students.”

To find out more about foundation degrees, HNCs and HNDs or other vocational qualifications, visit nidirect.

Check out the TV ad on the Department’s social media channels.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the Department’s internal records management system. The Department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The Department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.

2. To keep up to date with news from the Department for the Economy you can follow us on the following social media channels:

Twitter – @Economy_NI
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LinkedIn – Department for the Economy NI 

3. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk

4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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