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Young Social Innovators sets target of reaching 50% of secondary schools by 2020

Social innovation challenges people to think differently to create solutions to social issues 

Social Innovation Thinking Differently, A Plan to Develop Ireland’s Innovators and Entrepreneurs who will Build a Fairer, Inclusive and Sustainable World, was launched today by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., outlining the work and ambition of YSI. Social innovations are new ideas that meet social needs. So far 120,000 young people in Ireland have benefited from and contributed to developing innovations that help respond to difficult social issues such as homelessness, poverty, racism and immigration – items high on the social and political agenda today. By 2020, YSI wants at least half of Ireland’s teenagers to have the necessary skills so that they can use their talents, knowledge and resources to find solutions to these issues to create a fairer and more equal society for all. 

Speaking at the event, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D. said; “The Action Plan for Education sets out a roadmap to make the Irish education and training system the best in Europe within a decade. This government’s ambition is that Ireland becomes a global leader in innovation and education. Making innovation and entrepreneurial learning accessible to increasing numbers of students, no matter what their circumstance or ability, will help realise this vision. Young Social Innovators brings a strong focus on innovation which creates social value, giving young people the chance to get involved in real life issues, apply their experience and learning, and come up with real solutions.”

Co-founder of Young Social Innovators, Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy commented; “Ireland has a unique opportunity to give global leadership that aligns innovation for social and economic gain. Social value must become an integral part of innovation in Ireland to address societal challenges and build social cohesion. Policies and practices that align social and economic value will ultimately lead to a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable society. Through Young Social Innovators, education is already playing a major role in developing a culture and understanding of innovation for social good among young people and we need to build on that.”

Speaking at the event about Ulster Bank’s partnership with YSI, Gerry Mallon, CEO of Ulster Bank said; “Ulster Bank is focused on supporting new thinking and leveraging innovation to improve customer experience and to enhance our communities. YSI is the perfect partner for us as it gives young people in our communities the opportunity to be part of positive societal change on subject areas that really matter to them. Last year, we were awed and inspired by the dedication shown by these students – we are proud to support these inspirational problem-solvers to maintain this determination and to harness it further by increasing YSI’s reach to 50% of schools.  Together, we share an ambition to provide individuals, communities and businesses alike, meaningful help and support for what matters to them.”

Co-founder and CEO of Young Social Innovators, Rachel Collier commented; “In this time of huge social upheaval across the world, investment in social innovation is more important than ever and YSI, supported by Ulster Bank, wants to empower young people across the country to think differently to tackle issues that matter to them. There is an appetite among young people in Ireland and across the world for social justice and fairness. The YSI model has been emulated in countries such as Canada, Zambia and Norway due to a growing international interest in social innovation. YSI wants to respond to this appetite by scaling our work in Ireland and beyond.”