AN INNOVATIVE venture involving one of Fermanagh’s best known employers and a local grammar school and has come in for high praise from Education Minister Peter Weir.
Mr Weir was speaking in Enniskillen on Friday when he was briefed on the Quinn People School’s Programme with St Michael’s College, an initiative designed to stop the brain drain of young talent from the county.
The five-year partnership involves a range of initiatives to support St Michael’s and create career opportunities for pupils in their local community. The partnership programme provides a clear pathway for pupils to develop their educational attainment as well as the option to secure sustainable and highly skilled employment at Quinn. In addition, there are bursary awards for the top GCSE Engineering and GCSE Technology and Design; paid work placements for Year 13 pupils and access to technical help and expertise.
During his visit, Mr Weir met pupils at St Michael’s and senior management from Quinn Industrial Holdings and said he was “extremely impressed with the type and scale” of their arrangement.
“Other schools and businesses could learn a great deal from your experience and knowledge and indeed I would encourage you share your experience with your partner schools in the local learning community,”he said.
“As you have demonstrated, schools and businesses need to work together for the benefit of both the young people in the area and the local economy. Working together, schools and employers can ensure that learners are provided with opportunities to acquire appropriate, in demand skills that can lead to employment,” he added.
Kevin Lunney, chief operating officer of Quinn Industrial Holdings said the Minister had encouraged both the school and the Quinn company to deepen their relationship as an exemplar on a national scale.
“We feel that this initiative highlights the deep connection which Quinn has with the local community and reflects our desire to offer high quality careers to young people from the local area.”
St Michael’s College Principal Mark Henry said that since the opening of the new technology and design centre of excellence, pupils have embraced the exciting new opportunities now on offer.
“The Minister was clearly impressed with what has been achieved to date and we now look forward to further developing the relationship. We think that other parts of Northern Ireland and indeed the UK and Irish Republic may find what we are doing inspiring and there is clearly a hugely positive sense of momentum with this initiative”.
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