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Top US firms back new scheme to mentor our 'leaders of the future'

Young professionals in the US have been enlisted to assist a programme which allows university graduates in Northern Ireland to spend a year working in the US.

US economic envoy Declan Kelly and Bob McCann, chairman of the US-NI Mentorship Programme's steering committee in the US, asked an audience of 130 'young leaders' to act as mentors to participants in the mentorship programme.

Each participant will be matched with a young leader who will meet them regularly when they visit the US. The programme was set up by the Office of the US Economic Envoy, and is supported by the American Ireland Fund and the Northern Ireland Science Park.

There are around 15 companies in the programme, which will allow 25 recent college graduates to spend one year working in the US. Candidates must be under- graduate, graduate, and early -career professionals aged 21 and over.

Mr Kelly told an audience of young professionals in New York: "The American Ireland Fund has provided tremendous support to the mentorship programme, and the involvement of the young leaders will only further enhance the experience for each of the participants, and help give them the tools needed to return to Northern Ireland as leaders that can have a real impact on the region's economy."

Bob McCann, chief executive of UBS Wealth Management Americas and chairman of the steering committee, said he became involved "because of the opportunity to make an impact on lives of the young people participating in the programme".