By Andrew Kennedy, Big Lottery Fund Communications Manager
A group of young people from a Big Lottery funded project in Derry~Londonderry found themselves at the cutting edge of technology recently when they visited local company Seagate.
The visit was organised by local youth development charity YouthAction Northern Ireland, whose Positive Solutions project works with disengaged young people in disadvantaged communities in the Waterside area.
YouthAction Northern Ireland was awarded a grant of over £496,000 from our Reaching Out: Empowering Young People programme in December last year for the project which provides training to build a young person’s confidence, prepare them for the world of work and help them find jobs.
The visit to Seagate was aimed at giving young people involved with the project an insight into work and the preparations needed to find a job themselves.
The company’s Executive Director of Engineering, Damien Gallagher, gave the young people an overview of the work done in their factory. He also spoke about job opportunities and what Seagate looks for in employees, including things like time keeping and dress code.
The young people were then taken on a tour of Seagate’s clean room manufacturing facility and were able to watch what goes on.
“We are delighted that companies such as Seagate are supporting our Positive Solutions project by providing opportunities for site visits, volunteering and work experience,” said Anne McTaggart, Development Manager at YouthAction Northern Ireland.
“The Big Lottery Fund has invested major funding in this project which provides opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to make the most of their skills and their lives.
“Their funding and the support of local businesses is helping to build the self esteem, confidence, education and work skills of these young people so they can take positive steps and change their own lives for the better.”
Emma, 21, who is involved in the Positive Solutions programme and was part of the visiting group, said: “Going to Seagate was a great opportunity to see behind the scenes of a large company. It was a new learning experience for us to find out exactly what employers look for when employing people and what the different roles are within the business.”
“During the Positive Solutions programme we have been developing many of our skills in communication and employability and they’ve really boosted my confidence. The visit to Seagate was a perfect way of seeing how these skills are needed when we get a job.”
Commenting on the visit, Damien Gallagher, said: “We’re delighted to be working with YouthAction Northern Ireland on the Positive Solutions programme.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to give these local young people an insight into the world of work and how a multinational company like Seagate operates. We hope they found it interesting and inspiring.”
To find out more about the support offered by Youthaction go to: http://www.youthaction.org/
To find out more about the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Empowering Young People programme go to: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/funding