29 September 2011

Employment & Learning Committee visit Parkanaur College, Dungannon

Parkanaur College was the venue for this week’s Employment and Learning Committee Meeting. A residential college in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Parknaur provides further education to people with learning difficulties and disabilities and helps students achieve their full potential educationally, socially and vocationally.

Top of the Committee’s agenda today was educational funding and Members were keen to find out how much financial support is necessary to maintain colleges like Parkanaur. The Committee also heard from college staff about the opportunities they provide for their students which enable them to live and work independently once they have completed their education.

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning got to grips with some gardening in the Walled Garden maintained by students at Parkanaur College, Dungannon. Pictured, left to right are: Malcolm McNorbett, Committee Chair Basil McCrea MLA, Committee Member David McIlveen MLA, Committee Deputy Chair Tom Buchanan MLA and Shanice Carlin.

I caught up with Committee Chairperson Basil McCrea MLA to get his views on today’s meeting:
“We had the pleasure today of hearing first-hand accounts from students at the college and the thing that struck me most was how confidently and eloquently they addressed the MLAs. They are a very independent bunch. The work carried out here is obviously of a very high standard and it was also nice to get a tour of the garden that is maintained by the students.

“I hope to see some of the pupils again and we’d love to see them up at Parliament Buildings someday.”