Pictured with the Mayor of Ballymena and Julie Stewart of Young Enterprise are student entrepreneurs from Lisnagarvey High School, Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle, and Deele College, Raphoe, Co. Donegal
STUDENTS from Lisnagarvey High School became entrepreneurs for the day after successfully participating in a trade fair held at Ballymena's Tower Centre. The fair was organised by Young Enterprise Northern Ireland as part of the highly successful KEY (Knowledge through Enterprise for Youth) Programme.
Currently in its 11th year, the Programme brings together 14 to 16 year olds from marginalised communities on both sides of the border to learn about enterprise, peace and reconciliation and acquire skills which will help them to positively influence a shared future for Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.
As part of the Programme the young entrepreneurs, partnered with peers
and Passion College, Ballycastle and Deele College, Raphoe, Co Donegal, to set up six mini companies to trade their products to the public. Among the goods on sale were handmade crafts and gifts.
The trading day marked the culmination of a year's training and development which the young people received at four residential retreats held at outdoor activity centres throughout Northern Ireland.
Over the year, the group of 36 students participated in enterprise activities designed to improve motivation, confidence levels and presentation skills, as well as exploration of employment opportunities and the concept of enterprise.
An integral part of the Programme is the requirement for participants to
with their peers from other traditions and backgrounds to gain a greater understanding and tolerance of the religious backgrounds of others. "It's never too early to teach enterprise skills", said Julie Stewart, Senior Training Officer on the KEY Programme.
"KEY is designed to ignite the entrepreneurial spark at a very early age, and our trade fair gives students a fantastic opportunity to apply their new skills in a real-life context. No matter what field or career students choose in the future, knowing how business works will give them a head start on their peer group."
Students participating in the Programme are drawn from 72 schools in Northern Ireland and the southern border counties.