Banbridge students look to the future at careers event Posted on 10 February 2022

More than 350 school students have been exploring a range of career options at an event in Banbridge supported by Clanmil Housing Association.

The Shared Education Careers Fair which took place in Banbridge Leisure Centre  was an opportunity for year 12 and 13 students from Banbridge High School, St Patrick’s College and New Bridge Integrated College to meet more than 30 local businesses and learn about potential employment paths.

Students also met with colleges and universities to research what qualifications or further study they will need to pursue their chosen career.

Some of the organisations who attended included Almac, Moy Park, First Derivatives, and the PSNI, while representatives from Queen’s University, Southern Regional College, the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Ulster University and the Department for Economy’s Careers service were also there to meet students.

The young people were asked to reflect on what they had learned from the event, and this feedback has been recorded by a videographer to be shared with other students during follow-up workshops and discussions.

Austin Kelly, Community Cohesion Officer with Clanmil Housing said:

“One of our aims at Clanmil is to reach, connect and collaborate to strengthen communities, and we are delighted to support this initiative to help young people achieve their full potential in education and the world of work. The careers event is one of many projects we have supported in the Banbridge area, as part of our commitment to community engagement from our development of the Hawthorn Gardens shared housing neighbourhood.”

Banbridge High School, St Patrick’s College and New-Bridge Integrated College are part of a Shared Education partnership and the schools are part of the Banbridge Area Learning Community which promotes shared resources in education and training.

Katy Feeney, Principal of Banbridge High School commented:

“We are delighted to be able to work in collaboration with Shared Education and our partner schools in the Banbridge Area Learning Community with the support of Clanmil Housing to engage our young people in investing in their future. To be able to attend an event with over 30 businesses and organisations is a fantastic opportunity, and will help the young people understand the needs of the marketplace, qualifications and potential routes from employment, so that they can make informed choices about their futures.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Alderman Glenn Barr who attended the event said:

“I would like to congratulate Clanmil on this initiative as part of the Shared Education Partnership; bringing together an array of different types of employers allowing the young people to be able to see first-hand the different types of employment that’s out there and to help them make an informed judgement on their future careers.”

Banbridge High School student Rebecca shared her feedback:

Today has helped me get an insight into a range of different businesses and the job roles that they offer. It has also allowed me to speak to different universities, giving me an idea about the options which are available to me once I finish my A levels. I now feel so much more confident in researching careers and looking at what I will enjoy doing.”

Careers Event in Banbridge
Alderman Glenn Barr (left), Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council alongside Marian Lively (St. Patrick’s College, Banbridge), Laura McCartan (Banbridge High School), Mairead McMahon, head of careers at New-Bridge Integrated College, and Austin Kelly from Clanmil Housing.













Clanmil Housing has allocated £4, 200 to the project as part of a Good Relations Plan within Hawthorn Gardens in Banbridge, its shared neighbourhood development which opened in 2019. 

Hawthorn Gardens is one of the initial 10 T:buc developments, which were a headline action in the NI Executive T:buc Strategy. Clanmil Housing continues to work in partnership with the local Advisory Group stakeholders, and with residents to develop the scheme’s Good Relations Plan.   

The project is supported through the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy, which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.  The Hawthorn Gardens shared housing development is also supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

A total of £2,402,000 was invested in the shared housing development and associated five-year Good Relations Plan. This includes the Housing Association Grant of £2,059,000 and TBUC/ Good Relations Support of £343,000. 

Clanmil Housing Association currently has five shared housing developments across Northern Ireland and is promoting a further three. The Hawthorn Gardens Good Relations Plan includes ‘Bridging’ events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training.

Students at Careers Event in Banbridge
Conrad Topping of Careers NI chats with Shea Malone and Daragh McNulty of St. Patrick’s College, Banbridge











Watch a short video about the event 

Further information  

The Executive Office - Together: Building a United Community   

Department for Communities - Shared Housing Programme