ICB chair and Queen’s University Belfast vice-chancellor professor Ian Greer, said: “The addition of Belfast Met to ICB is a welcome and a natural step forward for the partnership, aligned with our mission of driving collaboration, bridging the gap between education and industry, and harnessing the growth in sectors such as FinTech, Health & Life Sciences, GreenTech and beyond.
“The latest expansion of ICB means we are now partnered with three key tertiary academic institutions focussed on cultivating the innovators and skills for tomorrow. Significantly, they provide a direct link between skills requirement and skills delivery, helping build a pipeline of talent and enhancing the city’s credentials on the international stage.
“Supporting the digital skills pillar of the £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal, Belfast Met, alongside our other key partners, enables inclusive innovation via pathways to jobs in the growing digital economy.”
The college, which has four campuses situated across Belfast, will bring 30,000 new students to the Innovation District from September, coming at a pivotal time as businesses and industry leaders seek to drive vitality back into the city post-Covid. Belfast Met’s curriculum is designed to reflect priority growth areas identified for Northern Ireland, such as emerging technology and advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Louise Warde Hunter, principal and chief executive, Belfast Met, added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with our partners and are committed to working to strengthen the economic success of the Belfast City Region. As a leading partner in the Belfast Region City Deal, the College will deliver a series of interventions to support vital skills, employability, apprenticeships and careers enhancement, which in turn will underpin significant capital investments in innovation, tourism and regeneration over the next 10 years.
“As an FE College, Belfast Met is a skills engine with a dual role in supporting economic development by working with businesses to create new employment and apprenticeship opportunities, and in ensuring that there are opportunities for all to acquire the necessary skills to access employment through our inclusive pathways from entry level up to Higher Education.”
In addition to Belfast Met, the ICB partnership comprises Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Catalyst, Queen’s University, Belfast and Ulster University with Invest NI as an advisory partner.