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Down District’s Young Achievers Are Celebrated At Special Awards Event
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Cllr Dermot Curran and Down District Council Vice Chair, Cllr Gareth Sharvin present Young Achiever Award Runners-up Muiread Kelly (Muiread Kelly Photography) and David Telford (Tels Fitness Studio) and Award Winner Denise McClean (Crumble Cakes) (centre) with their awards. Also pictured is Cllr Laura Devlin, Sean Rodgers MLA, Down District Council Clerk & Chief Executive John Dumigan, Janice Symington (Down Business Centre), Cllr Robert Burgess and Margaret Ritchie MP.

Cllr Dermot Curran and Down District Council Vice Chair, Cllr Gareth Sharvin present Young Achiever Award Runners-up Muiread Kelly (Muiread Kelly Photography) and David Telford (Tels Fitness Studio) and Award Winner Denise McClean (Crumble Cakes) (centre) with their awards. Also pictured is Cllr Laura Devlin, Sean Rodgers MLA, Down District Council Clerk & Chief Executive John Dumigan, Janice Symington (Down Business Centre), Cllr Robert Burgess and Margaret Ritchie MP.

Young people’s enterprise and entrepreneurship skills were celebrated in style at the prestigious Dermot Curran Young Achievers Awards in Downpatrick at the Down Arts Centre on Friday 14 March 2014.

Congratulations were the order of the day to teams from local schools, students from South East Regional College (SERC), and to young entrepreneurs recently starting new businesses in Down district.

The eagerly awaited announcement of winners was revealed in front of an invited audience of VIP’s and young people nominated for this year’s awards, held at the Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick.

The Dermot Curran Young Achiever Award for 2014 was presented by Down District Council Vice Chairman, Councillor Gareth Sharvin, to Denise McClean of Crumble Cakes, a cake making and decorating business, who discovered that her hidden talent could be a route out of unemployment.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to 16-year old technologist and entrepreneur John Neill. John has developed ‘Fon2Find’, a solution to finding lost keys, and is representing Down, Northern Ireland and the UK in technology competitions in the USA.

Check out the winners’ photos on Facebook

The South East Regional College (East Down) Awards were presented to individuals and to the winning student company by SERC Schools Partnership Manager, Richard Armstrong.

Cllr Dermot Curran and Down District Council Vice Chair Cllr Gareth Sharvin present SERC student winners Dylan Kelly(Higher Education Award Runner-up) , Philip Digney (Higher Education Award Winner) and Naomi Haugh (Training for Success Award Winner) with their certificates. Also pictured is Geraldine Boden, Richard Armstrong (SERC) and Paul Kavanagh (Bright Idea Programme)  

Cllr Dermot Curran and Down District Council Vice Chair Cllr Gareth Sharvin present SERC student winners Dylan Kelly(Higher Education Award Runner-up) , Philip Digney (Higher Education Award Winner) and Naomi Haugh (Training for Success Award Winner) with their certificates. Also pictured is Geraldine Boden, Richard Armstrong (SERC) and Paul Kavanagh (Bright Idea Programme)

The Dermot Curran Young Achiever Schools Award was presented by Paul Kavanagh under three team categories to: Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch (Science and Technology); St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick (Culture and Citizenship); St Malachy’s School, Castlewellan (Business and Enterprise).

During the awards ceremony, certificates of commendation were also presented to those entrants who had particularly impressed the judges.

Local community radio presenter Colm McAlinden was Master of Ceremonies for the day and hosted the event’s very own version of TV’s ‘Question Time’. Panel members included previous Dermot Curran Young Achiever Award winner, Cathrina Kielty (Wrap and Roll Sandwich Bars); Richard Armstrong (SERC); Janice Symington (Down Business Centre) and Vincent MacNabb (MacNabb Waste Management), based on their hard earned experience and successes to date.

Down District Council Chair, Cllr Maria McCarthy said: “The Dermot Curran Young Achiever Awards, sponsored by Down District Council and the South Eastern Regional College, is a demonstration of the commitment shown by the Council and the College to promote entrepreneurship among young people in the Down area.

The  Awards are designed to recognise outstanding individuals who have demonstrated the entrepreneurial spirit and determination needed to achieve success in the world of business and specifically to recognise the contribution made by young people.”

Councillor Dermot Curran added, “We must look to those who can be more entrepreneurial and innovative to bring their skills to the challenges that face us in business and in the wider economy. Success comes through identifying challenges and seeking to overcome those challenges.  Young people learn more and mature more quickly through this process, becoming the capable leaders and business people we will depend on for our future.”