In the final engagement of the day HRH The Princess Royal attended the official opening of Belfast Metropolitan College, Titanic Quarter, Belfast.
Belfast Metropolitan College is the largest provider of further and higher education in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest in the UK, with approximately 36,000 student enrolments per year, and employs 1,000 full-time equivalent staff. The College, founded in 1906, opened its new flagship Titanic Quarter headquarters in September 2011 and has been described as an ‘Iconic Centre of Learning’, offering an extensive range of courses. The new £44m state-of-the art College campus will cater for up to 5,000 full and part-time students.
Upon arrival HRH was greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast, Dame Mary Peters DBE, Mr Richard O’Rawe, Chair, Governing Body, Belfast Metropolitan College and Ms Therese McGivern, Principal and Chief Executive, Belfast Metropolitan College, who accompanied HRH throughout the visit. Moving inside to the Linen Lounge HRH met Greig Twaddle, Head of Estate and Facilities Management, and viewed the College Heritage Collection and a number of exhibition stands which chart the College’s history and development over the past 105 years.
HRH met a number of overseas students from Uganda, Japan, Canada. Kenya, Poland and Bangladesh in the Library. Proceeding to the Science Laboratory HRH met Damian Duffy, Director of Development and Learner Services and went on to meet academic staff, students, and key employers involved in STEM related curriculum developments, including Mobile Technologies, Wind Turbine and Offshore Energy, Composites, and Bioscience.
Moving downstairs HRH met members of the College’s sporting teams, including, the College Football Academy, Supported Learning Football team, College Gaelic, Rugby and Basketball Teams, and the following students who have received sporting accolades and awards:
- Una McGarry and Barbara Norris - Special Olympics winners
- Michael McKillop - Paralympic gold medal winner
In the Conference Centre HRH met Elaine Hartin, Chief Operating Officer, and students and staff from the Centre for Fashion and Design, together with current and past students now employed in the local fashion sector. HRH went on to view the World Skills display and a mini fashion show.
In the Central Hall HRH met:
- a number of groups representing the World Skills competition bricklaying gold medal winner, Philip Green
- members of the College Governing Body
- employers involved in the College Knowledge Transfer Programme and training clients
- the Schools Partnership
- community partners, including The Prince’s Trust, private training providers
- graduation Special Award winners
Marie-Therese McGivern, said a few words of thanks and invited HRH to unveil a plaque, designed and produced by staff from the College’s Foundry, to commemorate the official opening of the College.
Richard O’Rawe presented HRH with gifts of a book entitled ‘Diligence and Skill’ by Henry V. Bell - a history of the college, and a framed piece of textile art by part-time Lecturer Liz McCulloch and invited HRH to sign the visitors’ book.
This brought to a close HRH The Princess Royal’s one day visit to Northern Ireland.