Friends’ Students beat off stiff competition to win ‘Digital Masterclass: Idea of the Year’

January 6, 2023

Students from Friends’ School have beaten off stiff competition to take first place in the final of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council's 'Digital Masterclass: Idea of the Year’.

The award-winning technology programme, which is run by Young Enterprise NI, was delivered to more than 250 secondary school pupils across the Council area. As well as taking various digital learning modules, participants on the programme were encouraged to develop potential business concepts using virtual and augmented reality technology.

The winning digital idea which secured Friends’ School the top spot was an application called ‘Multi-tasking Mother.’ The aim of the app is to help new parents keep track of child development milestones and co-ordinate child care with other family members/care providers.

Students from five different schools were invited to come together for an event hosted at the ISLAND Arts Centre in Lisburn so they could showcase what they had learned - as well as compete in the final round of the competition.

The judging panel - which included business owners from across the digital sector - were impressed by how innovative the students’ ideas were and that they were of such a high quality. Some of the shortlisted ideas proposed included VR headsets for dogs and a watch that could track the wearer’s medication intake.  

Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chairman of LCCC’s Development Committee said: “Learning digital skills and embracing new technology is crucial for all of us – and especially for our young people who are making important decisions about their future employment.

“We were delighted to host students from Fort Hill Integrated College, Friends’ School Lisburn and Lisnagarvey High School who presented their business ideas to a panel of judges. It was a superb day and I was very impressed with the passion, creativity and ingenuity that each group showed.

“The judges’ job on the day was extremely difficult when it came to choosing the overall winners. The panel included Adrian Wilson from the web design agency Green17; Ruth Young from social media solutions company, Ruthless Media, Trevor Reid from the telecoms provider, Smooth Communications and Gareth Neill, a local investor and board member for McKees Law and Kerr Henderson. Huge congratulations go to our overall winners, Friends’ School, Lisburn.”

Carol Fitzsimons MBE, Chief Executive at Young Enterprise NI said:  “Once again, we are pleased to deliver this programme on behalf of Council. Young people are growing up surrounded by digital technology, and it’s vital that we support them to understand how they apply these tools in the world of work to become the digital specialists that businesses need.   

“We commend the investment from the Council in supporting young people to develop these skills and to learn directly from digital ambassadors who are the role models of successful business people in the local area. This programme raises awareness among all students, whether they go on to be a digital citizen, digital worker or digital maker; it is all about the digital skills that will be essential for their future success.”

During the final, the school groups heard inspiring talks from local entrepreneurs, Chris Canavan and Marc Muldoon who founded Altesc, a virtual reality arcade located in Lisburn.

For more information on how to register your school or how to become a business mentor email ruth.davidson@yeni.co.uk.