Belfast – 3rd February 2021 – Pioneering employer and leading digital technology company Kainos is partnering with Speakers for Schools to offer an ambitious new virtual work experience programme for young people in Northern Ireland. Virtual work experiences connect young people with the world of work and open their minds to the possibility of a career in a sector they may not have considered.

In 2020 and 2021, in-person work experience opportunities have slowed significantly which prevents young people from exploring new career paths or connecting directly with employers. Now Kainos is teaming up with NI’s School Employer Connections and the UK-wide charity Speakers for Schools to re-open the world of careers in technology and introduce them directly to young people. Kainos is offering an impressive 1,000 work placement opportunities and welcome applications from students across Northern Ireland.

Speakers for Schools and School Employer Connections call on more employers in Northern Ireland to open their virtual doors to young people. This partnership will allow leading businesses to connect with young inquiring minds and to introduce careers they may not have previously considered. This partnership will introduce thousands of 14 to 19-year-olds to pioneering businesses like Kainos who can now offer live, interactive, and virtual career experiences.

Gemma Crothers, Social Responsibility Manager at Kainos said: “We are excited about growing the potential of the young people of Northern Ireland. Whilst we adapt to COVID-safe working, we must not sacrifice young people’s access to career experiences. We are delighted to partner with School Employer Connections and Speakers for Schools to equip today’s young people with the digital literacy and critical thinking skills that our future economy will so desperately need.”

Catherine Daly, a former work experience student and up-and-coming software developer at Kainos added: “I’ve always had a passion for IT but wasn’t sure about pursuing it as a career. After completing work experience at Kainos, equipped with new skills and a real insight into the company culture, I knew I wanted to be part of the team. I’m now in my second year of Kainos’ Earn as you Learn scheme, studying a part-time degree in Computer Science while working on real-life projects and gaining invaluable experience along the way. It all started with a week’s work experience, and I would highly recommend it!”

Owen Crozier, Manager of School Employer Connections said “Employers in Northern Ireland now have the opportunity to repair some of the damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to young people’s prospects. School Employer Connections alongside Speakers for Schools have significant experience in this field and will offer full support to any employer who’s prepared to step up and help out.”

Jason Elsom, Chief Executive Officer, Speakers for Schools, said: “All we ask is that local industries are prepared to take a little time out to give youngsters a helping hand on the careers ladder. Our team are delighted to partner with Kainos and School Employer Connections to support employers every step of the way to create and deliver quality experiences that will inspire and inform career ambitions for the young people of Northern Ireland.”

If you are a local business, school or student in Northern Ireland find out more and get involved here: speakersforschools.org/experience