Ross selected for youth leadership programme

Ross selected for youth leadership programme

10 July 2019

A CROSSGAR teenager has been chosen to join the first group to begin a year-long international youth leadership programme which will culminate with a once in a lifetime trip to Los Angeles.

Seventeen year-old Ross Farrell, a Year 13 student at Wellington College in Belfast, has earned his place on the IGNITE programme, a joint initiative between Belfast City Airport and Cinemagic, which will provide potentially life-changing opportunities for 100 young people over a five-year period.

He was one of several students nominated by their schools who were then required to fill in an application form. 

Successful applicants were invited along to a selection day at the airport where they participated in a series of role-plays, team-building exercises and an interview.

Jay Roewe, senior vice president of HBO, West Coast Productions, who is widely accredited for helping to bring Game of Thrones to Northern Ireland, met with the students at the launch of the programme at the airport.

Michelle Hatfield, director of corporate services for George Best Belfast City Airport, said that over the course of the year, participants will collaborate with youth organisations, foundations, charities, representatives from other businesses in the private sector and also recognised names in the field of sport, film and politics.

She added: “Whilst the trip will conclude at a VIP gala event in Santa Monica, it is hoped that the lessons learned and the connections made by the young people involved will last a lifetime.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane offered his encouragement to the young people participating in the programme.

He said: “IGNITE holds the potential to build the confidence, leadership and social skills of every young person involved.  I wish them all the very best of luck and know that they’ll act as fantastic ambassadors for our great city whilst in LA.”

Joan Burney-Keatings, CEO of Cinemagic, said: “Our ethos is in perfect harmony with the objectives set out by the IGNITE programme.

“Cinemagic, for the past 30 years has worked with young people to ignite a passion in the creative industries through high quality film and television opportunities, to develop their skills, explore opportunities, and reaffirm their belief in what they want to do and their own ability to achieve it.

“The film industry is a catalyst for a pipeline of young leaders and economic expansion in Northern Ireland and its impact goes way beyond the creative industries.”