Connect with us

Mid and East Antrim

4C UR Future Welcomes Schools From Mid and East Antrim Borough Council To LIVE Careers Inspiration Event

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, held a successful 4C UR Future LIVE event for students from Mid and East Antrim Borough at Jim Baker Stadium, Templepatrick on 20 June 2022. 

The LIVE event welcomed pupils from Ballymena Academy, St Louis’ Grammar School, Ulidia Integrated College, and Dunclug College for an action-packed day of work-based games and skills challenges.

Founded by engineer and business leader, Rose Mary Stalker, 4C UR Future works with over 80 local employers to create an exciting and engaging event 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 participating, so that as many Year 9’s as possible get the chance to participate and to shine.

“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.”

Rhonda Lynn, Skills and Entrepreneurship Manager for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, said that the council was eager to support an event such as 4C UR Future LIVE.

“We really want to see young people get practical experience and meet the variety of companies we have locally. It’s great to see so many of our key companies here today engaging with the students,” said Ms Lynn, adding: “I think it’s really important to work with students at Year 9 to try to open their eyes to the variety of opportunities that are out there before they pick their choices for their GCSEs.

“These kinds of events give them insights into areas that they maybe hadn’t considered before, and it might allow them then to explore other GCSE opportunities that they might enjoy, or have great benefits for them in their career pathway.”

Ms Lynn praised the interactive nature of 4C UR Future, and the exciting alternative that it provides to the usual careers fair: “Sometimes a careers fair can be slightly dry for young people, so by allowing them to get involved in all of the challenges they are exploring a lot more skills in a really fun way.”

The activities that the students take part in vary in each game zone and cover multiple sectors, giving them 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 across the message 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.” 

Students from four local schools attended the careers inspiration event, accompanied by teachers and school staff members.

Julie Guerét, Head of Careers at Ulidia Integrated College praised the engaging format of the 4C UR Future LIVE event.

“This is not a career fair, this is a day of activities,” she said. “It’s really hands-on – you explain what the kids need to do and then they get on with it.

“Because of the variety, and the fast-paced activities of 20 minutes each, I expect that we’ll get very tired young people on the way back to school! I’m hoping their heads will be full of ideas and they will have enjoyed this. “

Robert Moore, Careers Coordinator at Dunclug College shared a similar sentiment, discussing the difference between the LIVE event and typical careers fairs. He said: 

“Careers fairs are a hive of activity, but today we’re not just going and lifting prospectuses and chatting to people. We’re actually getting involved, taking a seat and getting on with the activities and events that are on at each station and really getting a feel for the subject, speaking to the employers at the same time.”

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

Head of Careers at Ballymena Academy, Ann Livingston, discussed the importance of holding events like 4C UR Future LIVE for Year 9 students. 

“In careers, next year is a very, very important year for pupils,” she said. “They make their decisions about their GCSE subjects, so it’s really good that they have a chance to explore their abilities and their skills to make an informed choice for GCSE.

“We’re trying to tell them that their qualifications are just the baseline, it’s their skills that they can bring to employment that will help them to succeed in the future.

“This event helps them discover the skills they have so that they can match their chosen career with the skills they have, or even to develop new skills and take them out of their comfort zone, developing skills they haven’t yet had a chance to explore.”

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. 

The 4C UR Future event gave 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 calendar of LIVE events in different councils across Northern Ireland 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, visit www.4curfuture.com or email info@4curfuture.com

Mid and East Antrim

Support your Local Craftspeople this Christmas

Support our local #MEArtists and craftspeople this Christmas  – that’s the message from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council as the Borough prepares for the busy Christmas shopping period in the weeks ahead.

Following a motion which was brought to Council by Alderman Audrey Wales MBE, Council is encouraging shoppers to consider purchasing handmade arts and craft produce as gifts for friends and family this year.

Alderman Wales said: “In Mid and East Antrim we are blessed with a wonderful array of exceptionally talented artists and craftspeople, each producing exquisite, artisan crafts and produce.

“Their wares make for the most thoughtful gifts for any occasion – be it a special ‘piece of home’ for friends or family living abroad, or simply a beautiful display of intricate craftmanship, often using materials sourced from across the Borough.

“Our local artists and craftspeople are crucial to the culture and heritage of Mid and East Antrim and, as they continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, we are encouraging local shoppers this Christmas to show their support by giving the gift of local craft,” she continued.

“Council, too, remains strongly committed to doing everything we possibly can to support our local artists and craftspeople, and to encouraging a thriving arts scene in Mid and East Antrim.”

The work of several local craftspeople is exhibited and available to purchase in the Visitor Information Centre at Council’s Ballymena headquarters at The Braid, including:

  • Vera McCullough Jewellery – bespoke jewellery inspired by Slemish Mountain, the surrounding Antrim Hills and the lush Northern Irish countryside. Vera was commissioned to design a brooch and cufflinks to be presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their visit to Mid and East Antrim in 2019.
  • WB Woodcraft –items crafted from local, exotic and reclaimed wood and materialsThe range includes birdhouses and feeders, fairy doors and houses, wooden bells, Christmas decorations and postboxes.
  • Lucy Craig Textiles – heritage items such as letters, photographs and other memorabilia preserved onto textiles and combined with hand embroidery to enhance and personalise the work.
  • Country Slate Gifts –unique handmade slate gifts for the home and garden, all of which can be tailored to specific customer requirements.
  • Precious Pebble Art – custom made art and gifts for every occasion, made using local pebbles collected from the North Coast.

Continue Reading

Mid and East Antrim

Carrickfergus Castle Children’s Book Depicts its History through the Eyes of a Child

A Carrickfergus grandfather’s adventures with his grandson have inspired the release of a new book called ‘Danny’s Visit to Carrickfergus Castle’.

Bob Harper, from the town, has written the book after many visits to the castle with his grandson prompted questions about its history.

The book details interesting facts and also is beautifully illustrated by Bob.

It takes children on a journey through the castle allowing them to learn as they go.

Speaking about its launch, Bob said he wanted to depict the history of the castle through a child’s eyes and make it an easy, enjoyable learning experience.

“I enjoy many adventures with my grandson around Carrickfergus which is steeped in history, none more so than the stunning Carrickfergus Castle,” Bob said.

“I wanted to create a book for children that would make it enjoyable for them to learn and give them facts that they would always remember.”

The book talks about how Carrickfergus was named after the Rock of Fergus and about the famous knight, John de Courcy, who built the majestic castle which proudly sits on Belfast Lough.

Alderman Billy Ashe MBE congratulated Bob on the publication said it was an “excellent concept for a story and a great way to educate our children on the history of the borough”.

“We are always trying to promote civic engagement for our younger generation and this book is a perfect way to do that,” he added.

‘Danny’s Visit to Carrickfergus Castle’ will be available for purchase in Visitor Centres across the borough at a cost of £5.

Continue Reading