A good news story via a friend who works with Bytes Project which opened a new centre in Flax Foyer, Ardoyne this afternoon.
The charity aims to remove “barriers faced in accessing training or employment training and employment by assisting young people to overcome extreme social and educational disadvantage” enabling “young people to make a difference in their own lives, allowing them to become economically active and make a positive impact in their communities”.
Bytes Project started back in June 1993 and was modelled on a Bytes for Bullets project for at risk young people in Costa Rica. Offering access to information technology in a non-pressurised environment to 16-25 year old NEETs who are felt to be at risk in the community.
The first four centres were in New Lodge, Falls Toad, Lenadoon and Rathcoole. By 2014, Bytes had expanded to Tullycarnet , Short Strand, Poleglass, Lower Shankill, Derry, as well as various outreach centres.
Bytes have been working with Flax Foyer in Ardoyne for four years, part of the package of training, education and employment available to the homeless or at risk of becoming homeless young people using this safe, affordable accommodation.
Today Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon opened a dedicated Bytes Centre in the complex, offering training on the doorstep of the young people. Offering Open College Network courses and staged qualifications to help them become socially and economically active citizens.
DETI’s Labour Market Statistics published this morning – seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey estimates for Northern Ireland – suggests that for the period June – August 2014 there was “an increase over the quarter in the number of people who were economically inactive while there was a decrease in the number of employed and unemployed”.
The seasonally adjusted claimant count rate in NI (5.9%) was higher than the UK average rate (2.8%) and was the highest rate among the twelve UK regions. This is the 54th consecutive month that NI has had the highest or second highest UK region unemployment rate, on this measure. The monthly decrease in NI claimants (0.6%) was lower than the UK average decrease (1.9%) during the same period. The annual decrease in NI claimants (15.3%) was the lowest decrease of twelve UK regions (the annual decrease in the UK was 29.3%).
Established pockets of educational underachievement are identifiable across long periods.
Something that will be picked up by the Heenan-Anderson commission.
In the meantime, initiatives and charities like Bytes Project have a valuable contribution to make.
To quote the Lord Mayor:
Turning your life around takes guts. Met some gutsy young people today at the Bytes Project in Ardoyne Flax Foyer pic.twitter.com/Gxx9C2qRDn
— Nichola Mallon (@NicholaMallon) October 15, 2014