OCN NI announces learning endeavour award winners

Open College Network (OCN NI), an educational charity and awarding body that advances education by developing qualifications for adults and young people throughout NI, has revealed the winners of the prestigious 2021 Learning Endeavour Awards.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 9:35 am
Third Sector Learner of the Year Winner Pierrette Kofi Mel, Start360, Stephen Barr, Start360 CEO Anne-Marie McClure, Start360 Tutor Carmel Kernahan and OCN CEO Martin Flynn
Third Sector Learner of the Year Winner Pierrette Kofi Mel, Start360, Stephen Barr, Start360 CEO Anne-Marie McClure, Start360 Tutor Carmel Kernahan and OCN CEO Martin Flynn

Despite the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown, this was a record-breaking year for entries and was OCN’s biggest event since the Awards began three years ago.

The event was held virutally and honoured all the learners, teachers and organisations who have had gone above and beyond there role within the local community.

Special guests such as local singing superstar, Brian Kennedy, TV legend Pamela Ballantine, BBC Radio 1 DJ, Phil Taggart and NI Women’s Senior Team player, Sarah McFadden, to name a few, joined the live event to wish finalists good luck.

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Louise Warde-Hunter, BMC Principal, Further Education Learner of the Year Winner Emad Hazaea, Roisin Trainor, BMC Tutor, OCN CEO Martin Flynn and Jamie Maze, BMC

Highlighting the many successes throughout the year, CEO, OCN Martin Flynn said he was delighted with the dedication and committment of all those who took part in the competition.

“This was a record-breaking year for entries,” said Mr Flynn.

“It was our biggest event since the Learning Endeavour Awards began, three years ago, and the caliber of entries just blew all of our judges away.

“Despite the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown at us, our leaners and teachers have stayed committed and their dedication has shone through as we proudly honour them all.”

Hilary Sloan Award: Winner Pierrette Kofi Mel with OCN CEO Martin Flynn presenting the cheque

The Third Sector Learner of the Year went to Pierrette Koffi Mel from Start360 and taking home the Schools Learner of the Year award was Joseph McFlynn, St Patrick’s College, Maghera, the Provider of The Year category winner was North West Regional College and the Inspiring Tutor/Teacher of the Year top spot went to John Morgan from the Belfast Recovery College.

The Health & Well-being Learner of the Year went to Eoin Millar, EOTAS Loughs Road Learning Centre, County Armagh, Third Sector Learner of the Year went to Emad Hazaea, Belfast Met and Start360 won the Advancing Learning Through Innovation category for their Switch onto Employment Programme.

The final award, the Hilary Sloan Learning Endeavour Award, in memory of former OCN NI Chair who was a powerful advocate of life-long learning, was last to be announced.

Outlining the prestigious accolade Mr Flynn added: “The Hilary Sloan Learning Endeavour Award is given to one of our category winners.

Emad Hazaea, Further Education Learner of the Year Winner, Jillian Moss, North West Regional College, Provider of the Year winner, Stephen Barr, Start360, Advancing Learning Through Innovation winner, Pierrette Koffi Mel, winner of Third Sector Learner of the Year and the Hilary Sloan Award, OCN CEO Martin Flynn, Joseph McFlynn, Schools Learner of the Year winner, John Morgan, Inspiring Tutor/Teacher of the Year Winner

“The winner of this award for 2021 is, Pierrette Koffi Mel, Start360, who will receive a £1,000 learning bursary.

“Massive congratulations to Pierrette and all of our shortlisted finalists and winners.

“Our sincerest thanks must go to Open University, PKF FPM, O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors, Co3 and Duffy Rafferty Communications for contributing to this learning bursary.

“All of our finalists will receive a Certificate of Nomination to help mark an achievement they should be very proud of.

“It was a stellar awards event and fingers crossed we get to see each other in person next year.”

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