Mayor praises successful careers event for local students

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Cllr Ivor Wallace, attended a 4C UR Future LIVE careers event held in Coleraine Leisure Centre.

4C UR Future, the industry-led social enterprise that aims to empower young people to make well-informed decisions about their education and future careers, welcomed pupils from Limavady Grammar School, Limavady High School, North Coast Integrated College, St Patrick’s College (Dungiven), and Loreto College to the immersive and skills-based event.

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 own strengths and interests, relative to those that are in demand by different sectors.

“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 taking part, so that as many Year 9s as possible get the chance to participate and to shine,” she said.

Students at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Alex Feher/Excalibur Press

“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.”

Councillor Ivor Wallace, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, had a chance to see first-hand how the event engages young people in a new and exciting way. He praised the “interactive” nature of the games, and commented on how “enthusiastic” the students were about them.

Students from Limavady High School and Loreto College at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Alex Feher/Excalibur Press

He said: “What impressed me most here today was the enthusiasm of the children, and that enthusiasm only comes because of all the game zones that have been set up and how they are just so well done.”

Cllr Wallace acknowledged the impressive effort of the volunteers from local businesses, such as Northern Ireland Water and Ryobi, who helped bring the 4C UR Future LIVE event to life.

“The number of volunteers here is absolutely amazing,” said Cllr Wallace. “What I’ve found in my short term as Mayor so far, is that this country depends so much on volunteers, and this event this morning just absolutely solidifies that idea.”

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From left - Rachel Doherty (MD 4C UR Future), Councillor Ivor Wallace (Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council) and Rose Mary Stalker (Founder 4C UR Future) at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Francine Montgomery

He also commented on the importance of local businesses playing an active role in the career decisions of young people, saying: “I’m sure there are more businesses out there that would benefit from getting involved; it’s important to engage with students at this age, it’s very worthwhile, and eventually these young people will be the workforce of the future.”

The event was attended by five schools from the borough, providing students and their accompanying teachers and school staff members with an exciting and informative day out.

Jenny Calvin, a senior teacher and Head of Careers at Limavady High School, praised the LIVE event and highlighted the benefits it has for Year 9 students.

“I think it’s a very good event. It’s much more engaging, and I think it’ll get the thought processes going because the students have been very much involved in the activities and in the information gathering. I’d definitely recommend it.”

Students from Limavady Grammar School at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Francine Montgomery

Ms Calvin discussed the importance of capturing the attention of students of this age in relation to their careers aspirations. She said: “I think it’s really important because it gets them thinking seriously about subjects they might need to enter career areas that they’ve found interesting or engaging. I think it’s very important to give pupils as wide a range of information as possible so that they can make informed decisions.”

Volunteer Debbie Deans, Director of Business Development at 21 Training, discussed the importance of organisations and businesses getting involved in events like 4C UR Future LIVE, and how it can benefit both students and businesses alike.

“It’s so important because these are our employees, trainees, and apprentices of the future,” she said. “We need to get to know them better for us to develop our business. We need to know what it is they need, and we need to be ready to provide it for them and to provide it for the industry as well, with the skills in the pipeline that they so badly need at this time.

“We have ten of our staff volunteering here today, and volunteering at some of the upcoming events too. They are just loving it. It’s a great experience for them. It’s a great way for them to develop as well.

“It’s just brilliant, and I think that every company should be getting involved.”

Commenting on the atmosphere of the event itself, Ms Deans said, “We are blown away by how enthusiastic [the students] are. They’re really engaged.

Student from Limavady Grammar School at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Francine Montgomery

“They haven’t been here before, so they don’t really know what to expect. It’s a real pleasure to see their eyes light up when they see it’s something completely different than the traditional careers advice that we would have had at school.

“It’s really all about drawing out of them what their strengths are, and it’s an absolute pleasure to see how much they’re enjoying it. We are just buzzing to be here too.”

To find out more visit www.4curfuture.com

Rose Mary Stalker (Founder 4C UR Future), Annette Deighan (Operations Manager at Causeway Chamber of Commerce), Frances O’Hara (Head of Careers at Dept for the Economy) and Rachel Doherty (MD 4C UR Future) at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Francine Montgomery
Rose Mary Stalker (Founder 4C UR Future), Frances O’Hara (Head of Careers at Dept for the Economy) Graeme Wilkinson (Director of Skills Department for the Economy) and Rachel Doherty (MD 4C UR Future) at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Francine Montgomery
Students from Limavady Grammar School at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Lyndsey Hodgkinson/Excalibur Press
Students from Loreto College at Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Lyndsey Hodkinson/Excalibur Press
At Coleraine Leisure Centre for the 4C UR Future LIVE 2022 event. Photo by Lyndsey Hodgkinson/Excalibur Pres