Project aids the unemployed

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A ground-breaking entrepreneurial programme aimed at stimulating new business ideas has been seen as the ideal solution for training the long term unemployed.

Arise, a pilot project run by Work West Enterprise Agency, based at Hannahstown Hill took 18 young people through the entire entrepreneurial process, encouraging creative thinking, exchanging ideas and an innovative approach to learning through doing rather than traditional classroom teaching.

Claire Ferris, Manager of Work West, speaking at the Celebration of Achievement of the programme, said they had adopted new methods of training that had unlocked the group’s potential and taught them to work as a team. She says this model could help thousands of others.

She said: “We think that this model can be used to teach young people at risk and also community and voluntary organisations aspiring to set up social enterprises. This course combines new models of design thinking, the creative tools to generate new business ideas, and a strong emphasis on teamwork.”

Staff from Work West worked extensively developing the business model which aims to teach skills to young people in a way they enjoy, which is learning by being set a series of challenges.

ARISE, which is funded by the RBS Inspiring Youth Enterprise scheme, brought together for the first time young people aged 16 –30 from a wide range of social and academic backgrounds.

Conor Platt, a media and politics graduate from Newcastle University, plans to start a business creating pop-up shops for small independent retailers. He said the ARISE programme had been essential in providing him with new perspectives and the practicalities to take his business idea forward.

He said: “My idea is fully formed now thanks to the Arise programme. I have a business idea that is ready to take to market.”