13/04/2006

Graduates rewarded for business 'collaboration'

A number of Graduates who spent the last six months in collaboration on a unique venture with local businesses have been formally rewarded for their achievements.

In August 2005, Belfast City Council teamed up with the Belfast Institute and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to a pilot programme, entitled ‘Collaborate,’ which is aimed at helping local companies become more competitive by improving certain aspects of their performance.

Six businesses were joined by a number of graduates, to work on projects aimed at small environmental, creative or manufacturing businesses, with the aim of increasing their sales, profitability, overall competitiveness and marketability through research and innovation.

Speaking at the ceremony marking the end of the pilot scheme, Councillor Michael Browne, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Economic Development Sub-Committee, said: “Basically, we were looking for companies who had identified a project which they already have identified as being vitally important to the way their work was done, but who had not been able to implement it because of time or resources.

“Further and higher education needs business - and business desperately needs the world class people, ideas, research and technology that colleges can offer. But we can only help each other by working with each other - in genuine partnership. That's exactly what happened with the Collaborate programme."

The Councillor continued: “On this occasion leading educationalists and business leaders have come together to build what, we hope and believe, will be a better future for both business and the college. On behalf of Council I am delighted and proud to be associated with this initiative and am very much looking forward to working in future partnerships with the Institute, the Chamber, local businesses and local graduates.”

Deputy Director for Belfast Institute, Maura Lavery, added: “We are delighted with the success of Collaborate, as one of our key aims within the Workforce and Economic Development Department (WED) is to provide local businesses with graduates who are equipped to respond to the demands of today’s dynamic business environment. We are especially thrilled to be able to strengthen our networks with local SME’s and help support and develop a thriving economy within Northern Ireland.”

Six companies benefited from the programme - Wastebeater Recycling, Avenue Recycling, Circle Creative Communications, Newcreation.com, Baxter Murray Creative Chocolate and Brow Packaging.

(EF/SP)

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