Catalyst has teamed up with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to launch inclusive innovation project STRYVE.

The Northern Ireland initiative is funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) through its Personal Youth Development Programme, which aims to remove barriers to employment for young people who are furthest from opportunity,

STRYVE is aimed at young people aged 16-25 years old seeking to gain skills, qualifications and experience that will provide them with a pathway towards employment. It will provide accredited training in foundational skills, upskilling in innovation and entrepreneurship, helping them develop creative thinking to turn ideas to reality, providing access to industry mentors, and paid work experience and development opportunities.

Catalyst is seeking to collaborate with forward-thinking innovation-driven businesses that understand and are empathetic to the needs of young people in Northern Ireland and are seeking to build their workforces via non-traditional means. In particular, Catalyst wants to partner with businesses which embrace on-the-job learning, apprenticeships and internships with the potential for full-time employment.

Long-term, STRYVE will grow into a sustainable work experience programme that will support 300 young people through a collaborative business partner network and innovative support system.

Launching Belfast Startups 2.0 – nominate now!

The two-year programme has been designed and delivered in partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and multiple youth organisations across Belfast and Londonderry such as Long Tower Youth Club, St Mary’s Youth Club, Monkstown Boxing Club, YMCA Ireland, Holywood Family Trust, St Columb’s Park House and St Peter’s Immaculata Youth Centre.

Judith Camblin, STRYVE Programme Manager, Catalyst said: “Inclusivity is at the core of what we do at Catalyst, and we are working to remove the barriers that prevent people from accessing opportunities in the innovation economy, such as access to entrepreneurship and learning the skills to innovate. STRYVE has been created to do just that and we are delighted with the enthusiasm already shown by our first cohort of young people.

“It is so important for these participants that they get to experience the work placement in phase three of the programme to gain valuable insight to the world of work and so we are calling for all those businesses in a position to offer two days per week of work to get in touch and join the STRYVE programme.”

The programme is also being monitored by a reference group consisting of representatives from Belfast City Council, Derry City & Strabane District Council, the Education Authority, and the Department of Justice.

Catalyst is an independent, non-profit science and technology hub focused on fostering inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland.

Catalyst Co-Founders programme to connect entrepreneurs