Date: 25 Aug 2020
Belfast City Airport joined forces with Cool FM radio presenter and Cinemagic Ambassador, Pete Snodden, to celebrate 23 students graduating from the Airport’s inaugural IGNITE Youth Leadership Programme.
The IGNITE programme, a joint initiative between Belfast City Airport and Cinemagic launched in 2019 by Senior Vice President of HBO, Production and Incentives and Game of Thrones creator Jay Roewe, will provide potentially life-changing opportunities for over 100 young people across Northern Ireland over a five-year period.
The first cohort of students who joined the IGNITE programme in 2019 completed twelve months of workshops, work experience and self-development projects and were awarded an NLP Diploma in Personal and Career Development at the graduation ceremony, held at the Maynard Sinclair Pavilion, Stormont Estate.
Michelle Hatfield, Director of Corporate Services for George Best Belfast City Airport commented:
“At Belfast City Airport, community and education are two core pillars of our Corporate Responsibility strategy so we are thrilled that our IGNITE programme can combine both to make a real difference in our local community.
“The 2019 programme not only facilitated relationship building amongst the course participants themselves but also provided the opportunity for interaction and engagement with several local businesses and key organisations which could have long lasting benefits for all involved.
“This celebration event was a proud occasion, not just marking the achievements of the young people but also witnessing the positive impact the programme is having as a whole.”
In addition to the NLP Diplomas for each individual on the 2019 course, a further three special merit awards were presented to Ross Farrell of Wellington College, Olivia Millar of Belfast Met and Madeline Pollock of Ashfield Girls High School for outstanding contribution and dedication throughout the programme.
“These diplomas and accolades are testament to the effort and dedication these young people have given to the IGNITE programme over the past twelve months, but the real valuable takeaway is the new skills they have developed.” Michelle said.
“They have gained greater self-confidence, better communication and employability skills and insight into potential career paths from some of the best talent in Northern Ireland - that is what makes it all worthwhile.”
The event not only celebrated the phenomenal success of the 2019 IGNITE programme but also welcomed 21 new students from various secondary schools and Further Educational Colleges across North, South, East and West Belfast who have been chosen to embark upon the 2020-2021 youth development course.
Ashfield Girls High School, Belfast Met, Strathearn School and Wellington College all had students participate on the programme last year and have had students selected again for this year’s course, whilst Aquinas Grammar School, Blessed Trinity, Campbell College, Christian Brothers Grammar School, Dominican College and St. Louise’s are coming on board for the first time, with their pupils set to experience the extensive programme tailored and designed to build their skills set, future aspirations and self-confidence.
Speaking of the 2020-2021 programme, which will once again enable students to collaborate with some renowned names in the field of television, radio, politics and sport, Michelle explained:
“Opening doors, inspiring the young people of Northern Ireland and developing the workforce of tomorrow is not just our responsibility as a leading organisation in the region but also an honour that we wholly appreciate.
“Although the programme will culminate in a fantastic, awe-inspiring trip to LA towards the end of next year for our participants, we hope the learnings and skills they develop throughout their time with us will last them a lifetime, and we cannot wait to kick off the second year of our IGNITE programme with Cinemagic.”
Speaking at the celebration event, Joan Burney-Keatings MBE, CEO of Cinemagic said:
“We are extremely proud of the young people and all that they have achieved over the last 12 months. They have embraced the programme with enthusiasm and confidence, and I would like to congratulate everyone on their achievements.
“The Cinemagic ethos is in perfect harmony with the objectives set out by the IGNITE programme and over the last 30 years the organisation has worked with young people to ignite a passion in the creative industries through high quality film and television opportunities, to develop their skills, explore opportunities, and reaffirm their belief in what they want to do and their own ability to achieve it.”
To find out more information about the IGNITE Youth Leadership programme, please visit: