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Belfast City Airport Celebrates 2023 IGNITE Programme Graduates

Date: 05 May 2023

George Best Belfast City Airport has hosted a graduation ceremony at W5 to recognise and celebrate the latest cohort of outstanding young students to complete its annual IGNITE programme.

IGNITE is an innovative joint youth leadership initiative facilitated by the Airport in partnership with award-winning film charity Cinemagic, which aims to provide young people from all backgrounds with life changing opportunities.

Launched in 2019 by Senior Vice President of HBO and Game of Thrones creator Jay Roewe, IGNITE inspires participants from secondary schools and higher education colleges across Greater Belfast to develop valuable employability and life skills that will open doors in the future and allow them to gain an NLP Diploma in Personal and Career Development.

Commenting on another successful year of the programme, Belfast City Airport’s Director of Corporate Services, Michelle Hatfield said:

“It is wonderful to come together once again to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our IGNITE students.

“When we initially partnered with Cinemagic to launch this programme, we had a clear vision to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of young people locally and this is something which we are proud to have achieved.
“This year marks year four of our five-year initiative, and the success we have seen to date has been nothing short of amazing. 84 incredible young people have now completed our IGNITE programme, and we look forward to exceeding our target of 100 students by next year.

“It has been a great pleasure to witness the continued progress and development of each and every one of these young people and to have played our part in helping the next generation to gain valuable skills and fulfil their aspirations.”

IGNITE is tailored each year to focus on important topics such as mental resilience, boosting confidence, building self-esteem, and developing employability skills.

Throughout the year-long programme, participants benefit from the unique opportunity to collaborate with youth organisations, foundations, charities, and businesses, along with recognised names in the field of sports, film, tv, radio, entrepreneurship, and politics.

This year’s programme will also culminate in an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip to LA, where students will have the opportunity to engage and learn from major players within the media industry as well as network with other inner city kids to share their experiences.  

Reflecting on the accomplishments of the latest graduate group, Chief Executive of Cinemagic, Joan Burney Keatings, commented:

“I would like to congratulate all of the students who have graduated from this year’s IGNITE programme. Each and every one of these talented young people have made great strides towards a rewarding future by embracing all aspects of the programme and demonstrating admirable determination.  
“It has been a joy to once again partner with Belfast City Airport and see these students flourish throughout the past 12 months.

“We have no doubt that they have gained personal and professional skills that will serve them well in the coming years.

“Having the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our young people is something which makes IGNITE truly special. We are hugely excited for the upcoming trip to LA and to welcoming our next cohort of students to year five of the programme.”

Alongside 26 individual diplomas awarded to students from Ashfield Girls High School, Campbell College, St Dominic’s Grammar School, Strathearn School, Wellington College, Methodist College, Belfast Metropolitan College, Royal Belfast Academical Institution and St Mary’s Christian Brothers School, Belfast City Airport presented special merit awards to Rian Moylan, Niamh Hatfield, Tiarna McKeown and Thomas Davey for outstanding contribution and dedication throughout the programme.

Tiarna McKeown, student at St Dominic's Grammar School and winner of the Ignite Endeavour Award added:

“Taking part in IGNITE has been a memorable and valuable experience. I have become much more confident in my own skills and abilities and have been encouraged to build on these throughout the programme.

“It has also been great getting to know so many other young people and to come together to learn from each other’s experiences. I would definitely recommend IGNITE to any other students who want to take the next step towards future success.”

To find out more information about the IGNITE Youth Leadership programme, please visit:

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