Social enterprise, 4C UR Future, are expanding their innovative careers concept across Northern Ireland with a series of regional 4C UR Future LIVE events this summer.
The events planned for June 2020 follow-on from a hugely successful ‘proof of concept’ pilot event that was held in June 2019, where almost 1,200 Year 9 pupils from nine schools gathered at Ulster University, Jordanstown, over two days to participate in a range of skills games and work-based challenges.
4C UR Future LIVE aims to highlight young people’s natural attributes and talents, and inform them of potential future career choices. The 2019 pilot was supported by over 120 volunteers from over 30 cross-sectoral companies, representing a diverse range of industry sectors and careers.
The at-scale pilot events for 2020 aim to inform many more Year 9 students about the wide range of jobs available to them, while highlighting their own natural attributes, so they can map out their future career options before they make their GCSE choices.
Established by one of Northern Ireland’s leading business figures, Rose Mary Stalker, 4C UR Future sets out to do just as its name suggests:
It’s the very purpose of what we do. We want to help young people become the very best versions of themselves. We exist to engage, inform, and inspire young people to make the most of their opportunities, to take the path that’s right for them, and to contribute to the economy and society.”
“Our approach is specifically designed to enhance equality of opportunity. We aim to empower each young person to explore their own unique combination of positive attributes, talents, and learning styles, and to align them with emerging work trends and employability criteria.”
4C UR Future works alongside key employers and companies across the main industry sector groups within the Northern Ireland economy, to educate young people in the skillsets that are desirable both now and in the future.
4C UR Future LIVE is not a dry and boring information-based event. Instead, young people take part in a range of interactive games and work-based simulations that are specifically aimed at drawing out and identifying their key strengths, all with a view to helping them make better-informed education and career choices.
The social enterprise is aiming to run six LIVE events across Northern Ireland in June 2020, hosted by local Councils. An industry-led Steering Team has been established to finalise the plans and to make the all-important connections with the business sector.
Rose Mary continues:
A series of well-attended events means that we can impact on the education and career planning of thousands of young people in the region. Looking to the future, it’s not inconceivable that we could eventually reach just about every Year 9 pupil here in Northern Ireland, around 25,000 young people per year.”
Running the events for Year 9 pupils in the month of June is a deliberate choice. Following engagement with schools, June was identified as being the best time of year to accommodate attendance at the event, and crucially, it is before the young people make their GCSE subject choices.
We need to engage with young people about careers earlier in their education journey, before they choose their GCSEs. The world of work has changed beyond all recognition in recent years and it continues to change at a fast pace. Traditional subject choices, career aspirations, and routes into employment simply aren’t as relevant or straight forward as they used to be. It’s vital that we get that message across to both young people and their parents, but more than that, we want to demonstrate the wide range of opportunities that are available right here in Northern Ireland.”
“We want to help demystify the confusion over careers. There’s a wealth of information available out there, but careers teachers can struggle to stay up-to-speed on all of the industries all of the time. It’s an area that many schools admit they struggle with, but it’s an essential resource for our young people.”
The 4C UR Future LIVE events feed directly into the commitment from government outlined in the New Decade, New Approach deal, where there is a push to develop an ‘enhanced approach to careers advice’ with the objective of increasing ‘employability and supporting economic growth’.
Rose Mary tells the story of one young person who attended the 2019 pilot event in Jordanstown:
One of the industry experts volunteering as a game facilitator at the event was watching the young people go through their paces. He noticed one young man who had an unusually high level of manual dexterity. When he was given this feedback, it was clear he’d never received that kind of praise before. But does his manual dexterity mean that he’d make a great butcher, a great mechanic, or a great surgeon? That’s the kind of question we’d love to help him answer.”
To find out more about 4C UR Future LIVE and how you can get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.