We’ve announced a partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation (RFF) to help kick-start young people’s careers in Northern Ireland.

​We’ll work together with Rio’s charity, and with support from Active Communities Network, to provide mentoring and teaching skills for work and help young people from deprived communities.

The programme will focus initially on Belfast with the aim of introducing it more widely across Northern Ireland.

Our partnership with the RFF supports young people into education and employment through our Work Ready programme. It helps 14 to 24-year-olds build confidence and get the essential skills and work experience they need to get a job.

[Read more: BT wins award for Rio Ferdinand Foundation partnership]

Mairead Meyer, BT’s managing director of Networks in Northern Ireland, said: “By combining forces we can help even more young people across Belfast gain the crucial work skills they need to secure a job.

“This partnership supports our existing digital skills programmes to educate young people and provide them with the necessary tools to be successful in this growing and digitised world.”

Mairead Meyer, Managing Director of Networks at BT in Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and this partnership is the start of something special. By combining forces we can help even more young people across Belfast to gain the crucial work skills they need to go on and secure a job.

“This partnership supports our existing digital skills programmes to educate young people and provide them with the necessary tools to be successful in this growing and digitised world.”

Rio Ferdinand helped launch the scheme in Belfast

Jim Donnelly, head of programmes NI for Active Communities Network said: "This is an exciting new partnership that will bring a real energy into creating employment opportunities for our tremendous young people in Belfast and we are delighted to be involved."       

The Rio Ferdinand Foundation aims to offer support to young people through positive activities, mentoring, and skills for employment and enterprise, specifically in areas of high economic deprivation.

We will now collaborate with the RFF and share best practice to help young people improve their career prospects.

With the world of work getting more competitive, both organisations want to ensure as many young people as possible have the sufficient confidence, knowledge and vital skills for work, that they will need to go on and get a job.

In other parts of the UK, more 2,100 young people have started a BT traineeship or work placement in more than 30 locations in England, Scotland and Wales.

So far, over 50% have gone on to secure jobs or continue with their education.

For more information on the BT Work Ready programme, visit bt.com/workready