From education to employment

Northern Regional College Computing Students Recognised by Young Enterprise NI

Northern Regional College computing students were among the bright young stars recognised at the Young Enterprise Northern Ireland 2023 glittering awards ceremony.

The students’ fledging business, AdjeTech, which produced and sold 3D memorabilia, was presented with a Special Recognition Award in the Start Up category – one of just two awards presented to FE Colleges and universities on the night.

Back in 2021, the entrepreneurial students were the first group to enrol on the Advanced Technical (IT) at the College’s Farm Lodge campus. Emma Butler, Computing lecturer and course co-ordinator said she is delighted that the students hard work is paying dividends.

Congratulating them on their success, Emma explained by how ‘learning by doing’ was an integral part of the course:

“The aim of the Advanced Technical course is to give students as much practical experience as possible during their time at the College which they can take with them as they progress in their careers.

“A large part of the course involves Project Based Learning (PBL) and Work Based Learning (WBL), alongside their normal qualification. In the second year of the course, the students participated the young Enterprise NI Start Up Programme which gave them an opportunity to start their own enterprise and then market and sell their products.

“This was a class project and they all got involved in it, from coming up with the name ‘AdjeTech’, which comes from the course title, as well as the ‘tech’ products they produced and sold. Although there were key roles to fill, such as Managing Director, Finance Director and Sales Director, the students all got involved in the management of AdjeTech and they deserve great credit. 

The students began working on the AdjeTech project back in November and over the next fifteen weeks, focussed their energies on developing their enterprise idea – to use 3D printing facilities to design and create own mobile phone holders and keyrings. To finance the purchase of the necessary materials, such as sandpaper, filament, lacquer and paint they organised fundraisers and finally, to dispose of their growing stockpile of merchandise, they bombarded family and friends and had a stand at the Young Enterprise NI Big Market Day in the Abbey Centre in February, making a 4.9% return on their investment.

A strong advocate of having entrepreneurial activities embedded in the curriculum, Emma said she was greatly encouraged by the success enjoyed by the students’ initial foray into business.

“Not only did it help them to get real world experience of working life, but it inspired them to see what that are capable of when they put their mind to it. There are so many opportunities out there, and especially in IT so it was very beneficial for the students to see that their simple ideas can turn into big things in the future.”.

She added that involvement in the project had helped the students grow in confidence as their skills developed:

“At the start, some of them were reluctant to speak up but as the project progressed, even the quieter students were able to pitch their ideas. They worked well as a team and the skills developed as part of their entrepreneurial activities, such as teamwork, problem solving and communication, will certainly benefit them in future.”

The Young Enterprise Awards 2023 celebrates Northern Ireland’s top young entrepreneurs taking part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme.

 Among the guests at the awards ceremony Joe Kennedy III, recently appointed US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs who said that Northern Ireland is in ‘incredibly bright and capable hands’:

“Young Enterprise is all about equipping young people with the skills that they need in order to not just navigate a changing world, but to lead it. To be able to ask questions and find answers, cut through hard topics. Giving them the resilience and confidence, to know that this is not going to be an easy path, but it is a path worth taking.

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