Young people offered chance to show skills

Councillor Billy Webb and Vicky Moore (centre manager) welcome Minister Nelson McCausland and Mayor Fraser Agnew to the Dunanney Centre. INNT 35-030-FP
Councillor Billy Webb and Vicky Moore (centre manager) welcome Minister Nelson McCausland and Mayor Fraser Agnew to the Dunanney Centre. INNT 35-030-FP

Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership has launched a new initiative aimed at young people who are not in employment.

The Department for Social Development (DSD) and Newtownabbey Borough Council have awarded funding to the exciting new project, ‘We’re the Business’.

Aimed specifically at young people not in education, employment or training, aged 16 to 24 from the Rathcoole, Grange and Monkstown areas, the pilot is based on the theme of ‘enterprise in action’. Its aim is to provide a learning, motivation and skills development opportunity that young people can relate to, find stimulating and fun while providing them with ambition and focus as they start in the world of work.

The £104,000 programme will involve one or two groups of approximately ten 16 to 24 year olds. Participants will set up a mini-enterprise and learn firsthand what it means to run a business. During the project participants will also earn an enterprise qualification, explore their ideas, then go on to launch their business.

DSD has provided almost £59,000 towards the cost of the project through its Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, while the council has committed £14,000 over two years.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland welcomed the innovative project, saying: “The skills and qualifications gained by participants will contribute in a major way towards increasing their confidence and providing a platform to employment.”

Mayor Fraser Agnew added: “The council is fully committed to supporting young people within the borough, and this exciting project will allow those involved to experience the real challenges of running a business, and will develop their career potential immensely.”

The project, which is currently seeking to recruit a project coordinator, is the brainchild of the Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Economic Sub-Group.

Chair of Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership, Cllr Billy Webb, commented: “We are absolutely delighted the project is to get this support from DSD and council. It really is a very innovative project and we think it will make a real difference to the issue of youth unemployment in these areas.”