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Newry, Mourne and Down

Praises as Pupils Send Powerful Message on Domestic Violence

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill pictured with pupils from St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick, who have been raising awareness of domestic violence and the issues faced by women and girls in today’s society.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has praised pupils from St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick for their efforts to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The school has been working with Women’s Aid on a special project to shine a light on the many issues faced by women and girls in today’s society.Their efforts include the release of a song and video, which is not only raising awareness, but is raising funds to support those affected by domestic abuse.

Speaking after a visit to the school, Michelle O’Neill said: “I was delighted to meet with the girls from St Mary’s in Downpatrick today to hear about their efforts to help tackle the abuse faced by so many women and girls across the community. They are a talented group of young people and their work to raise awareness of these crucial issues is very moving and incredibly powerful.

“The abuse, inequality and misogyny faced by women and girls of all ages is a brutal reality of our society. And, sadly, very many experience violence in their everyday lives. It is a problem that requires everyone’s urgent attention and action.

“As an Executive, we have committed to working together on a strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls. But everyone has a responsibility to do all they can to help change attitudes and behaviours. The inspirational pupils at St Mary’s have done just that and I applaud them for the impactful and sensitive way they have dealt with this issue.

“I also commend the school for bringing this subject to the fore and supporting the students to tell the story.”

Given the ongoing Covid-19 measures in place across the schools community, the song was produced by recording individual voices and layering them to create the final version.

The deputy First Minister said: “Our schools and young people have had such a tough time throughout the pandemic. But they have innovated and adapted to do great things.  It is wonderful to see how St Mary’s have used a creative approach to deliver this important message.”

St Mary’s Principal, Rosemary McLaughlin, said: “The Board of Governors and staff of St Mary’s High School are very proud of the girls who have used their talents in a positive way to highlight injustice in our society. The efforts they have made will really make a difference to Women’s Aid.

“We are an all girls’ school; and we recognise the need to empower our young women. We want to ensure that the girls know there are organisations out there that can help the victim and the perpetrator.  As a school, we discussed the impact that the national lockdown had on women when the message was to stay at home. During lockdown, the increase in domestic abuse and violence against women was well documented by the media. Women’s Aid will now be able to use the much needed resources from this project to support families in the locality.”

Newry, Mourne and Down

Finance Minister Attends 4C UR Future LIVE Careers Inspiration Event In Newry

Minister of Finance, Conor Murphy, attended the 4C UR Future LIVE event at Newry Leisure Centre on June 9, 2022. The careers inspiration event, which is an exciting and interactive day of work-based games facilitated by local employers, was attended by Year 9 students from schools across the Newry Mourne and Down District Council area.

Pupils from Down High School, Our Lady’s Grammar School, Shimna Integrated College, St Joseph’s High School and St Paul’s High School had a chance to take part in interactive work-based games.

The event was run by 4C UR Future, the industry-led social enterprise that aims to empower young people to make better informed decisions about their education pathways and future careers. 

Founded by engineer and business leader Rose Mary Stalker, 4C UR Future works with numerous local employers to create a fun, 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 to be inclusive, with as many businesses and sectors as possible represented throughout.

“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 and facilitated by local employers. 

“Some games they will love, some games they will hate, some they’ll find easy and some they’ll find hard,” explained Rose Mary, adding: “That’s important information for them to consider when thinking about what they might like to do in the future.”

Thanks to the games and activities on offer, students come away from the event with a greater knowledge of the future world of work and a better understanding of their own skills and abilities.

Having had a chance to see the event and the games in action, Minister of Finance, Conor Murphy said it is brilliant to see pupils so engaged with the game zones and learning about their own strengths and interests.

“They’re only 13, but you can see as soon as they finish their first game that they’re already focused on what they need to do next and they’re having fun, but more importantly, they’re learning new things about themselves.”

Mr Murphy also stressed the importance of reaching students at this stage in their education. He said: “I think it’s critical for pupils as they’re coming to a time now where they would be making choices that would take them on a pathway for the rest of their lives. 

“It’s important for them to get a sense of what the world of work looks like and the jobs that might be available to them, what their particular skills and interests are, and to get them thinking in a new direction.

“Changes are happening very rapidly. The workforce is changing. Young people need to be equipped with the skills that they need, but they need to explore new areas and where their aptitude is in a variety of things and make sure they make the right choices.”

That is exactly the message that 4C UR Future Managing Director, Rachel Doherty is keen to get across.

“It is crucial to reach students at the right age and raise their awareness of their own strengths and talents so they can better navigate the complex careers landscape.

“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.”

On how these events are different from traditional careers fairs, Rachel said: “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.

The event was attended by schools from the region, providing students with an exciting and informative day out. Gerard McManon, an English Teacher from St Paul’s High School agreed that the 4C UR Future LIVE events are a great opportunity for active learning.

He said: “Pupils get a chance to meet other people from different schools and there’s a certain amount of excitement because of the very vibrant atmosphere.”

As opposed to traditional careers events, Mr McManon pointed out the difference the interactive game zones make to the student experience.

“This event is more interactive, there are lots of interactive zones, which give pupils an opportunity to explore their skills, see what they can do, and what they feel they’re interested in.”

Seeing what students are good at and where their aptitudes lie is an important step in helping young people believe in themselves and build their confidence.

“It is important that they start believing in their skills, looking at what they can do, and explore those avenues at a very early age,” he said. 

Accompanying students from Down High School in Downpatrick, Head of Careers, Keith Williamson also wants teachers, young people, and their parents to consider the wide range of career options that are available. 

“We don’t want our young people to have to make any knee-jerk decisions. We want to get conversations going with teachers and parents, and also with different organisations with vested interests.

“Pupils in Year 9, they’re starting to get a sense about the opportunities that are out there in the world of work. An event like today is really about arousing their curiosity, getting them to realise that there is so much that they haven’t even considered.”

4C UR Future is running a calendar of 11 LIVE events as an at-scale pilot across Northern Ireland in the month of June, with one event for each council area. The full schedule can be found on 4C UR Future’s website.

To find out more, or if you’d like to get involved, visit www.4curfuture.com or email info@4curfuture.com

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Newry, Mourne and Down

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Praises 4C UR Future LIVE Event

4C UR Future, the industry-led social enterprise that aims to empower young people to make better informed decisions about their education pathways and future careers, held a successful pilot 4C UR Future LIVE event at Newry Leisure Centre on June 9, 2022. 

The event was attended by Year 9 pupils from Down High School, Our Lady’s Grammar School, Shimna Integrated College, St Joseph’s High School and St Paul’s High School.

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 to be inclusive, with as many businesses and sectors as possible represented throughout.

“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 love, some games they will hate, some they’ll find easy and some they’ll find hard,” explained Rose Mary, adding: “That’s important information for them to consider when thinking about what they might like to do in the future.”

Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councillor Michael Savage was in attendance and said the LIVE events are an inspiring initiative to help young people shape their future.

“For too long we’ve exported our biggest talent – our young people. I want to take our very well-educated young workforce and give them a pathway so that they stay here and don’t feel they have to go across the water for opportunities. I want them to realise their future is here; we need to create career opportunities for them.”

The Chairperson also wants to encourage key stakeholders to support the development of our young people, he said: “It’s about helping young people be the best person they can be. This process can only grow and get bigger. 

“I would encourage central government and stakeholders in the development of our young people to put the funding in place and give young people the opportunities they need to see and realise their own potential.”

Thanks to the games and activities on offer, students come away from the event with a greater knowledge of the future world of work and a better understanding of their own skills and abilities.

“This event is a fun-filled way of putting children on an equal status where they all have an opportunity to shine. 4C UR Future LIVE allows them to see where their strengths lie,” he added.

The activities are varied and cover multiple sectors, giving students the opportunity to develop an insight into potential careers they may not have previously considered.

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.

“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.”

On how these events are different from traditional careers fairs, Rachel said: “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.” 

Over 700 students from five local schools attended the careers inspiration event, accompanied by teachers and school staff members.

Olivia Murray, Mathematics Teacher from St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook praised the event for getting students excited and getting them interacting with pupils from other schools and with companies from the local area.

She said: “There’s so much to learn from the activities, especially working with local companies, getting your foot in the door and speaking to people. It’s great to see pupils getting involved.”

With the impact of the pandemic still making itself known in an already highly competitive job market, it has never been as important for students to have opportunities to develop skills that are highly sought after in the workplace. 

English Teacher, Michael Crossan, from Our Lady’s Grammar School in Newry highlighted the importance of getting students out of the classroom and interacting with their peers and employers. 

“The chance to get the girls out of the school and classroom to do something that they haven’t been able to do for the last two years – even beyond the careers aspect – the social aspect has been great, meeting up with pupils from other schools. 

“We’re very keen to give the girls a head start, and all the diverse activities here have given them ideas about what they want to do.”

The 4C UR Future LIVE events give students the power to interact with employers from various sectors, giving them an insight into the roles and responsibilities of different careers.

4C UR Future is running a series of 11 LIVE events as an at-scale pilot across Northern Ireland, supported by 10 councils, during the month of June. The full schedule can be found on the Events page of 4C UR Future’s website. 

To find out more, or if you’d like to get involved, go to 4curfuture.com or email info@4curfuture.com

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