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Northern Ireland Businesses step up for Young People

This past year has proved a difficult one for the young people of Northern Ireland. Caused by a lack of government, school cuts of £70m and Young Enterprise’s loss of funding, the issue of young people and their future has, for too long, been kicked down the road. However, the situation has given way to the business community in Northern Ireland, who have stepped up when needed most. Recognizing the critical role of Young Enterprise in equipping young people with vital skills, businesses rallied around the organization after funding cuts threatened its essential programmes.

Young Enterprise equips young people with the knowledge and experience to navigate the world of work. Through their programmes, students gain exposure to business concepts, teamwork, financial literacy and entrepreneurial thinking. These skills are crucial for future success, especially in a world increasingly shaped by innovation and AI.

However, last year, funding cuts placed Young Enterprise’s ability to deliver these programmes at risk. As a result of these cuts, 45,000 young people across the country were set to lose the invaluable experience of Young Enterprise in their classrooms. But the business community had different plans…

On the announcement of the cessation of funding, the entire business community came together in support of Young Enterprise, voicing their horror and disgust at the Education Authority’s decision to cease funding. This overwhelming show of solidarity helped Young Enterprise navigate this trying time, knowing there was a community of support to lean in to. Leading companies across various sectors joined forces, pledging their support to the charity both financially and pro bono.

The impact has been undeniable. Young Enterprise’s ambitious goal of reaching 100,000 young people became, once again, a realistic target, thanks to the backing of the business community. This translates to countless students gaining valuable skills and experiences that will benefit them throughout their careers.

The support for Young Enterprise is particularly important in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. School closures and disruptions to education have left many young people feeling unprepared for the world of work. The charity bridges this gap, providing practical skills development that complements traditional education. In today’s dynamic economy, the ability to identify opportunities and think creatively is essential. Young Enterprise helps nurture these skills, preparing young people to be not just employees, but also leaders and innovators.

The partnership with the Northern Ireland business community is a shining example of collective action for the greater good. By investing in young people’s skills development, businesses are not only securing future talent, but also building a more resilient and prosperous economy for the future of Northern Ireland.

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