23 Mar First steps to success guided by new partnership
Leading lights of tech business start-ups gave a master class to ambitious students from integrated colleges in Northern Ireland when the IEF Carson Awards Programme teamed up with Ormeau Baths Belfast and Young Enterprise NI (YENI) in a unique partnership. The event was designed to enhance learning by taking the lesson out of the classroom. Around 60 pupils from Blackwater, Priory and Strangford Integrated Colleges gathered to benefit from the expertise of some of the brightest stars in the digital technology sector.
The day was planned to trigger learning by taking the lesson out of the classroom.
The master-class developed following conversations between two of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs – Mark Dowds and Tony Carson. Mark Dowds is one of the co-founders of the Ormeau Baths and also Trov Inc, one of the world’s fastest growing insurance technology companies. Tony, who is a founding member of the Baths, is an investor who also established the IEF Carson Awards Programme with his late father, comedian Frank Carson.
The day began with a talk by Peter Edgar of Ignite, which brings together inventors and investors to kick-start businesses.
The students from Priory, Blackwater and Strangford Integrated Colleges then enthusiastically undertook a creative challenge, devised by YENI, and worked in teams with the support of volunteers from a number of the companies based at Ormeau Baths.
Tony Carson said that he was glad to be supporting the masterclass:
“Having established and helped develop the Carson Awards scheme it’s great to see this initiative inject creativity into business – and inject a bit of business sense into creative types! The creative industries sector is definitely a growth area and if we want to see Northern Ireland continue to punch above its weight in this regard it’s vital to nurture young talent and encourage the aspirations of today’s school students. I’m delighted to support this initiative and look forward to seeing these young people become part of Northern Ireland’s success story.”
Commenting from Ormeau Baths, Mark Dowds said:
“We exist to find and develop entrepreneurs who can shape the knowledge economy in NI. By partnering with Carson Awards and YENI we are excited to shape a programme tailored to those who don’t take the normal path or career. We are looking for the young people who seem distracted or stare out the window on an average day. Some of the brightest are more interested in business than books. We would like to help them.”
Paul Caskey of the IEF added
“Integrated education is pioneering and forward looking and it’s great for us to work with these businesses to help demonstrate the transforming power of technology and the world of possibilities which awaits these students. We are very grateful to Mark and Tony, all the team at Ormeau Baths and Young Enterprise for organising the event and to Barclays Eagle Labs for providing refreshments for everyone who worked so hard today.”
As the day drew to a close, David Irvine from Blackwater IC in Downpatrick commented:
“I’ve learnt so much and had fun at the same time; it was great to team up with new people and make new friends. It was very challenging to tackle some of the tasks but also very inspiring and we had plenty of encouragement from the experts. I intend to be an actor and a day like today helps develop those important skills for whatever the future holds. There should be more of these events so that more young people can benefit.”
Young Enterprise identifies the ability to work with anyone from any background as a key skill in business, so students at an integrated school are in a great position to further develop their entrepreneurial skills.