Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry today launched two online tools designed to help disabled students access and benefit from further education.
The tools include an information resource hub for current and prospective learners and online accessibility guides entitled ‘DisabledGo’ for each of the six Northern Ireland further education colleges. DisabledGo is the UK’s leading provider of disabled access information and is committed to breaking down the barriers disabled people face when accessing education, local services and employment.
Speaking at the Further Education Delivering Excellence conference in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, the Minister said: “My Department’s support for these key projects is a clear recognition of the importance it places on ensuring that people with disabilities are given every chance to access the many opportunities which further education has to offer.
“The Resource Hub will provide a signposting service to direct both learners, potential learners, parents and carers, to further education. It will make it easier for people to access information about college provision, services, and the range of support available from external organisations.”
The Disabled Access Guides will assist users and potential college users, by providing detailed information on features, such as car parks, entrances to buildings, ramps, steps and lifts. The guides will also contain information on the availability of hearing systems, lighting levels and signage.
Dr. Farry said: “My Department has supported the FE Colleges together with Colleges NI to commission these guides, recognising that physical access to educational establishments is another potential barrier for disabled people, who may be interested in entering further education. The online access guides for the six colleges will remove concerns about accessibility to colleges and mobility within their buildings. These innovative online resources will enhance the learning experience of students with disabilities in further education.”
The Advocacy Resource Hub can be found at http://www.collegesni.ac.uk/
(Colleges Northern Ireland is the membership body and representative sectoral voice of all six of Northern Ireland’s Further Education Colleges.)