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Ruane highlights importance of non-formal education

28 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane MLA, has welcomed the opportunities that exist for young people to learn outside of the formal education environment.

She was speaking during a visit to the Bytes Project on the Springfield Road in Belfast, where she presented training certificates to young people. The Bytes Project provides access to information technology and training for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 in disadvantaged areas.

Congratulating the work of the Project, which also works with the Travelling community and young people with disabilities, Ms Ruane said:

"I believe the non-formal approach to education used by Bytes is absolutely vital in providing those who have disengaged from formal education with another chance in life.

"Young people can learn skills and gain accreditation in an environment that supports their needs and that can inspire them to undertake further training or enter employment. It can provide an alternative route to employment to those who otherwise would enter the labour market with neither the skills, nor the qualifications needed by employers. The value of this type of education cannot be underestimated"

The Minister presented certificates to 70 young people who had completed courses in areas such as ICT, first aid, youth work training and drama.

Ms Ruane concluded by congratulating the successful students and said:

"I hope that your work here has provided you with the skills and confidence to take the next step in life, whether it is into further training or into employment." ENDS

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