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Emad Hazaea who fled from Yemen named FE Learner of the Year 2021

Emad Hazaea, FE Learner of the Year

Emad Hazaea who fled from Yemen is named FE Learner of the Year 2021 @bfastmet

Emad Hazaea from Belfast hasn’t had it easy since fleeing from Yemen due to the war there. He was unable to take his place at university to study engineering and travelled to Jordan in 2017. He then sought refuge in Turkey and Greece before eventually moving to Belfast a year and a half year ago. Having joined Belfast Met’s Futures Project programme, funded by the PEACE IV Programme, he was nominated for the OCN NI FE Learner of the Year Award, and so winning this award has been an extraordinary achievement. 

Emad, 25, who hasn’t been able to see his family since he left Yemen, was delighted that he had won this award: “I’m so grateful to have been selected to be nominated and to receive this award. This is clearly one of the most significant events of my student life in Northern Ireland. I sincerely appreciate all of the support that my tutors gave me at all times and thank them for believing in me.

“I really enjoyed my time on the programme. The support I got from the tutors and other students has really helped me to progress my career goals. I would like to stay in Belfast where people have been very friendly and supportive, and to go on and study to follow my dream of becoming an engineer. I’m also looking forward to meeting up with my family again when it is safe to.”

The College received three other OCN NI awards this year; Shane Green was Highly Commended in the same category of FE Learner of the Year; Futures Project tutor Nicole McKee was Highly Commended for Inspiring Tutor of the Year, and the College was Highly Commended in the Provider of the Year award category. 

Siobhan Lyons, Head of Business Development, confirmed: “We are delighted for Emad winning the FE Learner of the Year at the OCN NI Leaning Endeavour Awards. It’s a terrific achievement especially in this most challenging of years and richly deserved recognition for Emad’s hard work and dedication on the Futures project.  All credit to Shane for being highly commended. It’s really heartening to see how the Futures Project continues to make a positive difference for our young people and we wish them all the very best for their future life and career.” 

Louise Warde Hunter, Chief Executive and Principal, added: “On behalf of the College I would like to congratulate Emad for winning this award and am very proud of how his hard work has enabled him to achieve this.

“I am also very pleased to see our staff receiving recognition for the wonderful work that they do and am delighted for Nicole on her commendation in the Inspiring Tutor of the Year category.”

OCN NI Chief Executive Officer, Martin Flynn, said, “Despite having to create a virtual awards ceremony for our 2020 Learning Endeavour Awards due to COVID-19, this did not reduce the engagement and enthusiasm of our learners and tutors with this year’s unique event.  We are delighted that Belfast Met has been so successful this year, a true reflection of the quality of students and tutors who have helped to make the College such a success.  We join with Belfast Met’s Principal and Chief Executive Louise Warde Hunter in congratulating Emad, Nicole and the College team, and look forward to an even greater number of entries from Belfast Met for our Learning Endeavour Awards next year.” 

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