Fifty local young people took part in the recent #YouthEmpowered skills day, an initiative developed by Coca-Cola HBC to provide free life and business skills training courses to 16 to 25 year olds across the island of Ireland.

The programme delivers both skills-based workshops with local employers and the option of interactive eLearning courses, with the aim of helping young people build the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to prepare themselves for the world of work.

Having a high profile local business involved was a highlight of the Enniskillen skills day, which took place at Fermanagh House.

The McBride Retail Group employs 460 people at its 12 Spar stores in Fermanagh,Tyrone and Lurgan and the young people were delighted to hear first hand from McBride’s Area Manager, Brian McCallion and Business Development Manager, Olivia Ferguson about what they look for in prospective employees.

The day was hugely interactive, with workshops in entrepreneurship, building a business, interview skills and even a Dragon’s Den style business pitch session which was judged by the business partners involved.

After completing the skills day, one local young person said: “The skills day gave us a chance to do activities that we have never really done before and it was good to meet business people and hear from local employers the skills they are looking for.

“This will really help us when it comes to applying for jobs.”

Over the last two years, 1,300 young people have received free training in financial literacy, project management and sales and business planning, with the ambition to engage a further 1,000 young people in 2019.

A key element of all #YouthEmpowered skills days is giving young people the opportunity to work alongside and learn from business people and local employers, with Coca-Cola employees from Sales, Public Affairs and Communications, Finance, Customer Services, HR and Supply Chain taking part in the sessions.

Lynne Carroll, local youth worker for YouthAction Northern Ireland (Enniskillen regional base), added: “At YouthAction Northern Ireland, we are delighted to be a partner of Coca-Cola HBC in this important youth initiative. Unemployment can be devastating for young people, affecting their mental health, family relationships and quality of life. This creative approach of bringing youth work and employers together will certainly build skills for living, learning and work and help young people successfully transition into employment of their choice.”