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Our partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation launches in Northern Ireland

16 June 2017

We’ve announced a new partnership in Belfast with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation (RFF) to help young people learn the skills they need to get into work.

We will work together with the support of Active Communities Network to provide mentoring and teaching skills for work and help young people from deprived communities.

Activity will be focused in Belfast in the first instance with ambition to introduce it more widely across Northern Ireland in the future.

We currently offer a range of pre-employment opportunities through our Work Ready programme including work placements and skills-for-work boot camps. The programme is designed to help 14-24 year-olds build confidence and get the essential skills and work experience they need to get a job.

Rio Ferdinand

The RFF, set up by Rio Ferdinand, the legendary Manchester United and England defender, provides mentoring and employment pathways to help young people in economically deprived communities.

Active Communities Network is an established organisation that will work alongside us and the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to engage and support young people across Belfast.

Rio Ferdinand, said: "I’m really excited to be striking-up this partnership with BT and at the prospect of working with the Active Communities Network to help youngsters gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the world of work. I am particularly pleased that we can now offer these opportunities in Belfast following the fantastic support my Foundation has received from that city in the past.

“A partnership with BT is a natural fit for me given the shared ambitions that we both have in this area. Some great work is already being done by both organisations, but by working together we hope to make an even greater difference to the lives of young people.”

Mairead Meyer, Managing Director of Networks at BT in Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and this partnership is the start of something special. By combining forces we can help even more young people across Belfast to gain the crucial work skills they need to go on and secure a job.

“This partnership supports our existing digital skills programmes to educate young people and provide them with the necessary tools to be successful in this growing and digitised world.”

Jim Donnelly, Head of Programmes NI for Active Communities Network said: "This is an exciting new partnership that will bring a real energy into creating employment opportunities for our tremendous young people in Belfast and we are delighted to be involved."

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation aims to offer support to young people through positive activities, mentoring, and skills for employment and enterprise, specifically in areas of high economic deprivation.

We will work with RFF and collaborate and share best practice to help young people improve their career prospects. With the world of work getting more competitive, both organisations want to make sure as many young people as possible have the sufficient confidence, knowledge and vital skills for work, that they will need to go on a get a job.

In other parts of the UK, over 2,100 young people have started a work placement in more than 30 locations in England, Scotland and Wales. So far, over 50% have gone on to secure jobs or continue with their education.

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