A pilot programme for Young Enterprise Northern Ireland has been developed by Chartered Marketer and founder of TrainingMatchmaker.com Christine Watson to inspire and train young people in marketing skills.
Through a series of online classes alongside signposts to dozens of free quality online courses as well as community driven peer networking, the innovative ‘flipped classroom’ style programme, has been brought about to showcase the wide range of marketing opportunities available to young people at this time. With a core aim of inspiring the next generation of marketers to commit to learning throughout their life, the pilot will allow up to 20 young people from across Northern Ireland to access the mentoring support of an experienced and qualified marketing professional.
The programme will showcase the now wide and varied range of employment opportunities for those interested in a career in marketing including paid full and part time roles as well as freelance self-employment work as general marketing practitioners or specialised digital and social media marketers. The programme is also anticipated to provide much needed marketing skills to alumni who have an ambition to run their own independent businesses.
Chartered Marketer Christine Watson, founder of TrainingMatchmaker.com and delivery agent of the Make It Click initiative by charity Good Things Foundation and funded by Google.org, will facilitate and deliver the project for Young Enterprise NI. Celebrating the launch, Chartered Marketer Christine Watson, a former Young Enterprise NI company alumni herself said:
“I’ve been interested in entrepreneurship, since my days as a student in Down High School when I was involved with my fellow students in the set up of a company that manufactured and sold CD racks. Being acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic on the life chances of our young is not enough, I am committed to taking proactive steps to inspire and motivate our next generation of marketers. This pilot is the product of a quick lockdown discussion about the career jungle gym that we are all living through. It is our hope that we inspire and motivate young people into the world of marketing.
Whilst strategic marketing hasn’t really changed much, the landscape in which marketers fulfil their role has – there are now over 8,000 digital tools that can help the performance of a marketer in their work. Skills development and practice in the key digital tools that a marketing professional should have in their toolkit is a useful career skill to have. Opportunities will also be provided for practical peer to peer learning and networking support – an often unwritten benefit to personal and professional life. Being part of a community of active marketers brings a lot to the table for so many. It is hoped that the participants will benefit from the firsthand experience that being a marketing employee, a full member and former elected Chair of The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Ireland voluntary board and a freelancer and business founder may provide people who aren’t versed in the marketing routes available to them.”
The unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in almost five years, with younger workers bearing the brunt of the job losses, official figures show. The UK’s jobless rate rose to 5.1% in the three months to December, with the number of people on company payrolls down 726,000 on pre-pandemic levels. Almost three-fifths of these were younger than 25 years. At the same time, post pandemic history shows us that entrepreneurialism is a route that many take, when there is a lack of opportunities in the job market and in an age of accelerated digital transformation there are undoubtedly opportunities for freelance marketers.
Carol Fitzsimons, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise NI, added:
“We are delighted to be working with Christine to provide this opportunity to students that have completed our Company programme. Through their Young Enterprise experience, many young people gain an interest in marketing, and this will allow them to continue this learning journey to gain skills and accreditation that are valued by the industry.”.
The Step Into Marketing Enabler pilot is designed to enable each participant with fit for purpose learning plans and it is anticipated that learning achievements will be in line with digital skills shortages and gaps highlighted by the Department for Economy. Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills for the Department for the Economy, said,
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our young people particularly hard, with jobs, education and training all being affected. As we begin to rebuild our economy, a key factor will be the need to  help young people re-connect with the workplace and developing relevant skills is central to that. The Department for the Economy very much welcomes the Young Enterprise pilot programme, as it offers a range of skills to help aspiring marketers reach their career goals, whether as an employee, or by running their own business. This sector is increasingly reliant on digital tools and this programme will equip students to make the most of the technology available to them .”
The programme will consist of a schedule of weekly training sessions delivered online by Chartered Marketer, mentor and trainer Christine Watson, supported by marketing practitioners from right across the local economy. In addition each trainee will benefit from the innovative flipped classroom style of learning whereby following their individual learning completions from the hundreds of free online courses available through platforms such as MakeitClick and Google Digital Garage they will return to the peer group to share their biggest lessons and practical application.
Expressions of interest are now open and interested alumni of Young Enterprise NI can apply at https://forms.gle/A5RVuxhKuSAKWBaYA  

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