Industry-led session helps students to find their strengths and skills

Newtownabbey students were provided with unique career advice during a recent event at the Jim Baker Stadium in Parkgate.

Year 9 pupils from Abbey Community College and Glengormley High School (Integrated College Glengormley) took part in the 4C UR Future LIVE event on June 17.

Founded by engineer and business leader, Rose Mary Stalker, 4C UR Future works with over 80 local employers to create an exciting, action-packed day that enables students to identify their strengths and interests, relative to those that are in demand by different sectors.

She said: “4C UR Future LIVE was designed from the very beginning to be at-scale and inclusive, with all sectors represented and as many businesses as possible participating, so that as many Year 9s as possible get the chance to participate and to shine.

Abbey Community College pupils at the event on June 17.

“We’re encouraging young people, before they make their GCSE choices, to look at the vast range of companies working in Northern Ireland today, look at the wide range of sectors, and by playing games explore their own strengths and attributes.”

The 4C UR Future LIVE events are a departure from typical employment and careers seminars and instead embrace a more interactive, hands-on approach. Pupils have the opportunity to participate in an exciting range of skills games and work-based activities, each of which is co-designed with and facilitated by local employers.

“Some games they will like, some games they will dislike, some they’ll find easy and some they’ll find hard,” explained Rose Mary, adding: “It is important that they try each game and as a result have a better understanding of their own aptitudes and capability, and how that relates to what they might like to do in the future.”

Commenting on the event, Ald Stephen Ross, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, explained: “This is a wonderful event and I am delighted that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council provided funding in support of it.

“It brings young people from different schools together and shows them the wide range of sectors and careers available. These events take young people out of a traditional educational setting and it shows them where their strengths lie through taking part in a range of practical and engaging games and activities.”

4C UR Future Managing Director, Rachel Doherty, is keen to get the message across, that it is crucial to reach students at the right age and raise their awareness to help them navigate the complex careers landscape.

She said: “Through 4C UR Future LIVE events and our first-generation CAREERS PORTAL, which is launching in September, we aim to inform young people of the wide range of opportunities available to them, help them navigate the complex careers landscape, and inspire them to achieve their ambitions and become the best version of themselves.

“It’s the energy. It’s the buzz. There’s live music, it’s fast-paced, the pupils are engaged and playing games. They’re finding out what they’re good at, there’s a little healthy competition, and they’re supporting each other.”

Northern Ireland Water was one of the many local businesses that provided volunteers for the LIVE events.

Sara Venning, CEO of NI Water stated: “The STEM subjects that we are involved in are so interesting, but a lot of the time young people don’t realise the great roles they can have, so we want to share our passion. We want to inspire the engineers and the technicians of the future.

“We need to reach them before they make their GCSE choices and before they lock themselves out of potential career options.”

Welcoming the school’s inclusion in the event, a spokesperson for Glengormley High School said: “The pupils represented GHS with a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and some very competitive mindsets.

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“Each station gave the pupils an interactive snapshot of a wide variety of careers in different industries - Finance, IT, cookery, science, architecture, construction, and many more. The pupils were a credit to the school. A great day out for all involved.”