Young people on the We’re the Business programme celebrated their achievements with a graduation event at Mossley Mill recently.
The event was attended by the young entrepreneurs and their family and friends, as well as representatives from the organisations and funders who have supported the programme from the outset.
Among the guests at the graduation were Ellen Johnston of Invest Northern Ireland, Seonaid Rooney from the council’s Economic Development department and Constable Alistair Montgomery from the PSNI. All three organisations funded different aspects of the programme.
We’re the Business was designed to give participants experiences that would transform their future. These ranged from residential and adventure activities to personal development and mentoring. The young people also set up their own venture and experienced the challenges of running a business for themselves.
Magz Gibney, co-ordinator of We’re the Business, spoke of her pride at all that had been achieved by the young people.
Within the group over 50 qualifications were gained, giving valuable work experience to those taking part.
The group set up Coole Shakes, a milkshake bar, which continues to operate from the Dunanney Centre, Rathcoole on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Vicky Moore, manager of the Dunanney Centre, spoke about what We’re the Business meant for those involved and Rathcoole generally.
“This programme has been a valuable learning experience for us all, not just for those taking part. It has been so important to us at Dunanney to make a positive contribution to improving the employment opportunities for young people in the area.
“We have developed lasting friendships with the young people involved and worked very closely with funders and partner organisations. I hope the legacy of the programme will be felt for many years to come,” she said.
Young people on the programme have gone on to find employment, while others have signed up for further education or training.
Some have continued to operate the Coole Shakes business and hope to build it into a sustainable enterprise for years to come.