Belfast Telegraph

Inspiring next generation key to economy's future success

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council sponsors Young Person award

ABC Council mayor Garath Keating
ABC Council mayor Garath Keating
Connaire McGreevy, winner last year of the Young Business Person of the Year

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is delighted to sponsor the Belfast Telegraph's Young Business Person of the Year Award. This award recognises the outstanding work and valuable contribution young professionals and managers make to their industry.

An energised, ambitious and forward-thinking local authority, the council is committed to attracting investment, stimulating growth, supporting vitally-important SMEs, improving skills and increasing employment.

Our top priority is to grow the local economy by leveraging the strength of our people, our long-established business base and our strategic location. As well as supporting SMEs and micro enterprises, we are also actively working to establish quality local jobs as part of our vision to create 2,020 jobs by the year 2020.

Through our Regeneration and Development Strategy, key economic development projects and funded opportunities we have robust initiatives in place to drive business growth and success. Our Business Engagement Programme offered free mentoring support to local businesses to help stimulate growth and innovation to increase their competitiveness.

In partnership with Enterprise NI we also delivered the 'Go For It' Business Start Programme, which encouraged budding entrepreneurs to move from talking about starting a business to actually doing it. Providing support and assistance the programme helped participants develop a strong business plan and gain the confidence to start their own business on a solid footing.

We understand the skills, knowledge and ingenuity of our young leaders is fundamental to the success of our local economy that is why we believe in the importance of inspiring the next generation through our varied and diverse partnerships and initiatives. We have developed an Employability Strategy with Southern Region College and continue to deliver career fairs and events to ensure our young people have the necessary skills and experience to attain quality local jobs.

Last year, with the Department for Communities, we hosted a job fair in Banbridge featuring 36 employers from a range of sectors, attracting hundreds of job seekers. Bringing employers, support organisations and jobseekers together, the event showcased the range of employment and training opportunities available to the people of the borough.

The area is home to an abundance of passionate producers and quality creators, helping firmly establish our borough as the Food Heartland of Northern Ireland. Therefore it is imperative to us to make sure the expertise and knowledge of our producers and chefs is harnessed and passed down to the next generation ensuring the Food Heartland area continues to grow and thrive. We created the Food Heartland Forum in partnership with local producers and key organisations including Food NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affair and Southern Regional College to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector.

Recently more than 350 school children took part in a careers showcase hosted by the Food Heartland. The three-day event showed Year 10 students the variety of roles working with food and drink in the agri-food, tourism and hospitality sectors and encouraged them to consider a career in these industries.

Our commitment to achieving long term economic success hinges on the development of our young people's skills and opportunities coupled with our collective drive to utilise this talent.