Pupils get inspiration from US Ambassador

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Who better to learn the skills of communication from than a professional diplomat who has worked alongside President Obama on his election campaign?

Students from Laurelhill Community College Lisburn, Lisnagarvey HS Lisburn, Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College, and St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick got the opportunity to do exactly this, when Matthew W. Barzun, Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom, called into their Young Enterprise Pitching Skills Masterclass in Stranmillis University College.

The students, who have all set up and run their own business start-ups this year as part of the Company programme with Young Enterprise, were preparing their pitches for the NI wide competition to select the winner to head across to the UK Final in July.

Ambassador Barzun took the time to share his experience of what makes presentations successful, and the importance of entrepreneurial skills within the modern workplace.

The US State Department have supported two Masterclass events in Northern Ireland this year in Belfast and the North West, drawing young people from across all school sectors together to learn more about the importance of entrepreneurship to the Northern Ireland economy. Ambassador Barzun, was on a visit to Northern Ireland and called in with the students to show his support for their development of entrepreneurial skills.

US Ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, added: “The U.S. State Department is pleased to support Young Enterprise, and to contribute toward building the entrepreneurial culture within Northern Ireland.

“The young people I met today are clearly enthused about enterprise and entrepreneurship and will be able to consider it as a potential career path in the future, bringing the skills they have learned today with them on that journey. That’s good news for Northern Ireland. That’s good news for the United States.

“Teamwork and inspiration build trade and investment across the Atlantic.”

Carol Fitzsimons, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland, added: “We are delighted to have the Ambassador visit our programmes today.

“The US State Department is a great advocate for the work of the charity, and our importance in building entrepreneurial skills in the youth of today.

“We have close links with our sister charity Junior Achievement in the States, and are keen to encourage local young people to realise the global entrepreneurship opportunities that are available to them.”

Young Enterprise is Northern Ireland’s foremost business and enterprise education charity and all its programmes are based on the principle of ‘learning by doing’, to promote a culture of enterprise from an early age.