Prince's Trust keen for experts to help get young set up in work
The Prince's Trust is calling on more business people to come forward to help young people into the world of work as it marks National Volunteers Week.
While joblessness among 18 to 24-year-olds in Northern Ireland had fallen by around 2% year-on-year to 18.6% over January to March, it's estimated that it will not reach pre-recession levels until at least 2018.
The Prince's Trust said that it helped almost 70 young people to set up in business in 2013 through its enterprise programme, which is supported by mentors such as Ian Bennington, managing director of Part Two Design in Belfast.
He helped Michael Binon set up his photography business after Michael took part in the Explore Enterprise Programme last year.
Mr Binon said: "I was unemployed for six months before I came to The Prince's Trust to complete the Explore Enterprise Programme. Photography is my passion, so I already had a strong portfolio but no clients. The trust helped me to understand the components of a business and with the funding I secured from them I created a website and business cards."
Mr Bennington helped Mr Binon take the business to the next level, giving him ideas for creating a logo and a leaflet to send for prospective clients.
He said: "Like myself, Michael sells his precious time for a professional fee and there are only so many productive working hours in a week.
"So we are both tuned in to getting a return on investment of time committed.
We only meet when we need to and are very focused on commercial results."
The businessman said having access to an experienced mentor could speed up the process of getting established in business, helping them avoid pitfalls.
He added: "Encouragement, enthusiasm and empathy are often as important as wisdom in these relationships.
"Being a mentor does not have to be hugely time consuming or overly intrusive in your business schedule, but can be hugely rewarding to see someone benefit from the knowledge that you have accumulated."
The Prince's Trust said it wanted to increase the number of volunteers it has by more than a third before the end of the year.
Prospective mentors can contact Michael Grimason at the Prince's Trust 028 90895032 or by email on michael.grimason@ princes-trust.org.uk