29/06/2004

Queen's and BIFHE sign partnership agreement

Queen's University and Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education have signed a new partnership agreement which will formalise links between the two institutions.

The agreement, under which BIFHE will become a Partner College of Queen's, was signed by Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor, Sir George Bain and BIFHE Director, Brian Turtle.

Professor Bain described the development as "very timely", adding that "it reflects Queen's response to the Department for Employment and Learning's consultation document on the review of the FE sector which has created a new opportunity for the strengthening of links between further and higher education".

He added: "The signing of this partnership agreement gives us an excellent basis upon which to build. Among the developments likely to result is a programme of Foundation Degrees between Queen's and BIFHE. These will be in a range of subjects and these qualifications will fill specific skills gaps in the economy and widen access - objectives at the heart of the missions of both institutions."

BIFHE Director Brian Turtle, said: "The Belfast Institute is pleased to be signing this Partnership Agreement with Queen's University today.

"The organisations have been working together informally for years but the new agreement allows us to work together in a more planned way creating enhanced progression for our students and bringing the strength of both organisations to bear on workforce and economic development in Belfast."

(MB)

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