A unit where students with special needs take part in tailored programmes will be formally opened next month.
The two-storey unit is an extension to and part conversion of the Victor Kneale Wing at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education.
It is named after Annie Gill CBE, a Manx woman who, as matron of the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh from 1907 to 1925, was Scotland’s senior nurse.
She went on to preside over the Royal College of Nursing from 1927-29.
The unit accommodates students who are 16 or over with profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities, severe learning difficulties, complex learning difficulties and multiple learning difficulties, ensuring they can be educated, no matter how complex their needs and can learn a range of skills.
Prior to the facility’s construction, the college’s layout meant it could only accommodate students with moderate learning difficulties and disabilities.
The £1.9m unit features a flexible social enterprise area with a working café for work experience, training and socialising; teaching spaces; physiotherapy/multi-sensory areas and specialist bathroom/toilet facilities on each floor. It also boasts a sensory garden and covered access to transport drop-off and collection points.
It provides a hub for agencies and services to work with students, sharing expertise and supporting them in making the transition to adult life.
The facility opened to students in September.
Ian Sheard, acting principal of the college, said: ‘This wonderful new building has already made a significant improvement to our work in being able to support students with significant learning difficulties and disabilities. We are really proud to have this new facility.’
Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Education and Children, will declare open the Annie Gill Building on Thursday, November 14.
He said: ‘It’s essential we support all students on their journey through education, including those with needs that mean their learning needs to be more tailored.
‘Prior to the creation of this building, students with special needs who were not staying on at one of the secondary schools’ special needs units had limited opportunities available to them at the college.
‘This is a facility to be proud of and one that will enable students entering adulthood to learn and develop in an environment that’s conducive to their individual needs.’