Academy Students part of the ABC Council Delegation meeting the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland

Academy Students part of the ABC Council Delegation meeting the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland – Mr Joseph Patrick Kennedy III

On Wednesday morning, January 31st, we set off with our Principal, Mr McLoughlin, from the Academy to attend a reception for a US Envoy Delegation at Armagh Palace. We were invited on behalf of Young Enterprise and were very grateful to represent Northern Ireland alongside New-Bridge Integrated College.  Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council hosted Mr Joe Kennedy III, US Special Investment Envoy to Northern Ireland, and James Applegate, US Consul General Belfast. We were feeling nervous and excited before arriving at the Palace, however, those nerves disappeared as we were greeted with lots of smiles, handshakes and even some delicious breakfast nibbles, which were a treat! We introduced ourselves to a few people around us but before we knew it Mr Kennedy had entered the room and was making his way around. When he came to our table, he shook hands with everyone and asked us questions, with a real genuine interest, about our Young Enterprise company. To conclude his visit, Mr Kennedy thanked and praised everyone for an amazing morning, commenting that the reception has been nothing short of ‘extraordinary’. It was an amazing experience which will not be forgotten by Oliver and myself, Mr McLoughlin also greatly enjoyed the occasion.


As Year 13 students we have had the opportunity to take part in the Young Enterprise company Programme. Oliver is a co-founder of Bee Buddies, a company aimed at helping wildlife and encouraging people to start growing their own flowers. They sell bags of “bee bombs”, which are soft clay mixed with soil that contain wildflower seeds within. Simply, throw it into your garden, and next time it rains, the clay dissolves leaving the seeds dispersed across your garden in a nutrient rich environment. They are also working on a second product called “Pot Plants”. These are small biodegradable pots containing condensed soil and some seeds. Simply add water, watch the soil expand and add the seeds. All this is to encourage bees to your garden, show how easy it is to get started with growing your own flowers, and start the process of showing people how to give back to nature.


Meanwhile Darcey is Managing Director of Scent-Sational. Ever thought your perfume bottle was taking up too much room when you travel? Tired of your aftershave bottle being too heavy in your pocket? Well, look no further, Scent-Sational a company selling perfume refillable bottles that are easy to use, affordable and have a wide range of colours suitable for everyone. They are 5ml therefore, slip perfectly and effortlessly into your pockets and bags and can be ideal for nights out, concerts, car pockets or a small gift. Come see us at our stall in Rushmere on Friday 9th February to discover the ‘Scent- Sational’ secret behind our perfume refillable bottles!


Young Enterprise is a fantastic opportunity to learn and experience real life skills, outside the classroom. The process of starting with an idea and turning it into something tangible is a core skill that cannot be taught. Only through failing and learning from mistakes can this be cultivated, and Young Enterprise is the perfect platform to motivate students to get started. Creating relationships within the team, managing money and engaging with customers are soft skills that can be developed for the future and gives an insight to what future employment could require. Young Enterprise has helped us recognise opportunities and has encouraged us to take those opportunities with the possible risk that it could harm the business or be a financial gain. They also provide a wonderful certificate in collaboration with the Ulster University whereby students complete a reflective assessment to show what they have gained from their Company Programme and efforts are recognised. Both companies are only getting started on their journey, but it’s all been made possible by Young Enterprise and their Company Connect scheme – we cannot thank them enough.


Written by Darcey Milligan and Ollie Small (Year 13)