10th October 2023
Catalyst welcomed football great Rio Ferdinand on a recent visit to Belfast to meet participants in STRYVE, the inclusive skills programme which Catalyst has launched in partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and International Fund for Ireland.
Thirty young people in Belfast and Derry are taking part in the programme, which aims to help them gain leadership qualifications and receive training in creative problem solving, design thinking and entrepreneurial thinking, alongside tailored work experience with a path to employment experience.
Styrve is an innovative project aiming to remove barriers to employment for young people furthest from opportunity. Funded by the IFI, it has been co-designed with, and is being delivered by, Catalyst in partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and seven local youth organisations.
Set up by Rio Ferdinand in 2012, the Foundation addresses issues of inequality that Rio had experienced in his own life, growing up in Peckham, South London.
As part of a visit to Belfast, Rio Ferdinand met with programme participants alongside the Catalyst team and programme partners to hear their stories and what they hope to gain from their experience with the STRYVE project.
Adrian Johnston, Catalyst’s Director of Strategic Business Development, said: “It was fantastic for the young people who are on this first programme to be able to spend time with Rio and the team from the Rio Ferdinand Foundation. He wanted to hear their stories and shared both some of his own experiences and how the Foundation has worked alongside young people in other parts of the UK.
“We want the STRYVE programme to break the mould when it comes to accessibility to employment for young people in Northern Ireland and remove barriers to opportunity.”
Gary Stannett, Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s CEO, said: “Supporting and empowering young people from working class communities, tackling racism and inequality, and providing opportunities and pathways to deliver social mobility and realise personal potential are the cornerstones of our work. We are delighted to be working in Northern Ireland alongside Catalyst to help young people in the region access new skills and opportunities.”
The STRYVE programme has been designed and delivered in partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation alongside 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.
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.