Sinn Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has hailed the success of a joint project between the North West Regional College (NWRC) and the Urban Villages initiative which has upskilled hundreds of residents of the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain Areas in I.T. It has also directly led to many residents achieving accredited qualifications which has helped them to move into employment or continue to pursue their academic career.
He said “As a former governor at the NWRC, I was particularly keen to encourage further collaboration between the college and local community organisations in working class communities who would not normally have pursued their academic studies due to a range of factors.
“In late 2017 I initiated discussions between the NWRC and Urban Villages whose remit includes the upskilling of residents of the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain areas to improve their chances of securing employment and to encourage residents to move into further and higher education.
“These discussions led to Urban Villages funding a range of courses in IT and multi-media. This was a deliberate approach given that the I.T. sector provides some of the greatest chances to secure well paid employment and that many of the residents of the Urban Villages area did not have qualifications in this area.
“As a direct result of the course 31 participants achieved level 2 accreditation from the NWRC. As a direct result some have moved into employment within the I.T. sector and others have pursued further qualifications in I.T. In addition the project engaged hundreds of school pupils from across the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain in I.T. sessions which has further increased their interest in pursuing a career in the field.
“As pilot projects go the initiative has been a tremendous success. As a result I have begun new discussions with the NWRC and Urban Villages to explore the delivery of additional courses over the coming year and we hope to announce further details in the coming weeks.
“I would like to thank the NWRC, Urban Villages and the community organisations across the Urban Villages area for their support and dedication which has hopefully changed the lives of many residents of the Bogside, Brandywell and Fountain areas”