Published: 02 December 2020
Belfast Met graduate Hannah Stanfield has been able to plan her career goals during the lockdown, since recently participating in the Futures EU PEACE IV project managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Futures Project is led by Belfast Met in partnership with Start 360, NI Housing Executive and Southern Regional College and works with local young people aged 16-24 years who are at risk of becoming excluded from educational or economic opportunities.
Hannah, 17, from Donaghadee, started Futures Online in June 2020 amidst local restrictions due to COVID-19, as she felt it was a good opportunity to do something productive in an unproductive time. She is currently completing A-Levels at school and is applying to university next year, and it is down to her participation in Futures that she has developed the self- confidence to achieve her goals.
Futures has provided personal development opportunities for over 600 disengaged young people since 2018 across Northern Ireland, by helping them to gain new skills and become more aware of diversity and good relations in Northern Ireland so they can take up active roles in their local communities.
Jamie Maze, Futures Project Manager at Belfast Metropolitan College confirmed: “Futures Project has supported and empowered young people to transform their lives and the communities they live in, regardless of their backgrounds and life circumstances which have acted as barriers in the past. The participants have been given the support they need to build their self-confidence, as well as invaluable tools to set goals and take the steps to achieve their full potential.”
Hannah talked about the benefits of taking part in the programme, “Futures gave me something to look forward to, lockdown was really getting to me. I was struggling with isolation and not being able to socialise and this helped me meet new people and socialise online. I developed some great friendships and we still keep in touch regularly. I also learned a lot about different people living in Northern Ireland and some of the challenges they face daily. It really opened my eyes to the experiences of others around the world.
“It was great that it could take place online as that meant we could take part the whole way through, no matter where we were or what the situation was with COVID-19. Futures kept me occupied and broke up what felt like the longest summer ever!
“Futures has influenced my future choices as I’ve realised that I want to work with people in a caring role. I’d never thought about this before and I know other people in my group also changed their plans because of new opportunities they discovered during the programme.”
Hannah’s confidence and self-esteem, independence and ability to deal with difficult situations have markedly increased during the programme. She also achieved a Level 2 OCN NI qualification in Personal Success & Wellbeing at Belfast Met and is one example of the many incredible young people who have worked hard to discover and shape their future.
Futures is currently operating online and is recruiting for a new programme in January 2021.
To find out more about joining Futures, please contact [email protected]