Creating 'App-ortunities with East Belfast Enterprise's Megabytes Programme
The Minster for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry has commended the success of the Megabytes programme, delivered by East Belfast Enterprise, citing it as an important platform for creating opportunities for unemployed young people.
Speaking at a recent event at the East Belfast Enterprise headquarters at Cityeast Business Centre on the Newtownards Road, The Minister praised the Megabytes programme and its endeavours to bridge the gap between youth unemployment and employment, emphasising the importance of promoting self-employment as a viable option for disadvantaged youths.
Speaking at the event in the Cityeast Business Centre, Minister Farry said: “The Megabytes project inspires young people to explore the option of self-employment and gain skills in enterprise and new media. It also supports young people to launch businesses online or use online tools.
“Employment and employability are among the top priorities for my Department. I recently secured £25 million to fund a comprehensive range of new initiatives to support the implementation of the Pathways to Success Strategy to help young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).
“Of particular relevance here today is the Pathways for Young People – Education Maintenance Allowance. This allowance is designed to provide a financial incentive for young people aged 16 and 17 on entry, but up to 24 in some cases to participate in ESF projects, such as Megabytes and I would encourage participants to avail of this.”
The Megabytes programme is aimed at 16- 24 year olds who have had very little education, training or work experience. Completion of the Megabytes programme provides participants with a business qualification, promoting self-employment as a viable alternative to unemployment.
Stimulating youth entrepreneurship through the provision of targeted training, the intensive two-week programme aims to foster an entrepreneurial spirit amongst participants and demonstrates how online and computer based businesses can be set-up by anyone. The programme also highlights opportunities available to young people outside of the traditional idea of ‘getting a job’, showing them how to become their own boss and set up a business.
Jonathan McAlpin, chief executive, East Belfast Enterprise said:
“Creating jobs and helping to develop new routes to employment is one of our key priorities at East Belfast Enterprise. Over the last year, the Megabytes programme has successfully shown that targeted training provision, which helps young people to look beyond the job ads and at other opportunities, can help them to take control and work their way out of unemployment.”
Since the programme started in April 2012, 46 participants have completed the course and gained a professional QCF Level 2 business qualification.
The Megabytes programme is funded by the Department for Education and Learning (DEL) through the European Social Fund (ESF).
For further information about East Belfast Enterprise, visit www.eastbelfast.org