Lurgan Students Break the YoMo Mould

Added Monday, February 26 2018

Mobile tech fest inspires young people to consider innovation careers

Students from a Lurgan school will be the first from outside Spain to attend YoMo, the Youth Mobile Festival, which is part of Mobile World Congress(MWC), the world’s leading exhibition of mobile technology, which takes place in Barcelona.

Eleven students from St Ronan’s College will join 15,000 Spanish students at the Youth Mobile Festival, courtesy of Catalyst Inc’s Generation Innovation programme. In addition, the pupils will have full access and backstage passes to MWC, to see first hand, the future possibilities of mobile technology from more than 2,200 companies displaying cutting-edge technologies at the show.

YoMo will provide over 200 activities across theme areas such as autonomous transport, the circular economy, biotech and nanotechnology which aim to inspire attendees to consider careers in tech innovation.

Dr Joanne Stuart, Director of Development at Catalyst Inc said: “Our vision is for Northern Ireland to have one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe by 2030 – and the students attending YoMo will be part of that workforce.

“We hope this experience harnesses their interest in innovation, encourages them to think with a creative and curious mindset, and ignites their passion for an innovation-focused career.”

Mobile World Congress 2018 is organised by GSMA, which represents the worldwide mobile communications industry. More than 108,000 people are expected at the event, which is used by global hardware vendors to launch their early-season flagships. This year, several major announcements are anticipated, notably Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones. Twelve companies from Northern Ireland will be attending the event.

Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer at GSMA, who is from Northern Ireland and a long time supporter of the Generation Innovation programme said,

“We are thrilled to be welcoming a group of students from Northern Ireland to Mobile World Congress. Their participation in the Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo) will give them a great view of the exciting possibilities enabled by mobile and will hopefully encourage them to pursue education and careers in technology.”

St Ronan’s, a new college with around 1,500 students, is one of the first schools in Northern Ireland to hold the prestigious ‘Investors In Careers’ award.

Principal Michele Corkey, said, “We are committed to providing the best opportunities for our pupils and the local community so our links with Catalyst Inc provide us with an exciting new forum.”

While in Spain, the students will write a daily blog for the school website highlighting learning around careers of the future and the impact of technology on changing job profiles.

Anna Brankin, Junior Head Girl said ‘It’s chance of a lifetime and I will be taking part in everything that is on offer. I am currently choosing my GCSE’s and this fantastic opportunity will help me make decisions about my future.’

This trip is being supported by local companies Aer Lingus and managed Cloud service provider Novosco.

Novosco is committed to developing talent to support the future of the industry in Northern Ireland,” said Patrick McAliskey, Managing Director. “Hopefully, this experience will inspire some of these students to join our fast growing mobile & IT sectors.”

Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager at Aer Lingus, who provided the flights for the group to go to Barcelona said; “Investing in our young people is vital to the future of Northern Ireland and we are privileged to be able to inspire them through visits to conferences like the Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo), to learn about the countless opportunities available to them in their working lives.”

Pupils and Teachers from St Ronan's ready to board Aer Lingus flight to Barcelona