Judges announced for the annual Northern Ireland Creative & Cultural Skills Awards

 25 September 2019

David McConnell of NI Screen, Carol Fitzsimons MBE of Young Enterprise NI, Darragh Neely of Darragh Neely Design Works and former Creative & Cultural Skills Award winner Holly Foskett of Black Box Belfast make up this year’s judging panel.

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The Northern Ireland Creative & Cultural Skills Awards is a unique, industry-led event, which celebrates the fantastic work being carried out to develop skills in the cultural sector.

The judges for this year’s awards come from a range of backgrounds in Northern Ireland’s cultural sector, and have demonstrated commitment to developing skills throughout their careers.

David McConnell, Education & Careers Manager at NI Screen is responsible for providing opportunities for careers advice, and work experience for young people within the expanding screen industries. With over 12 years’ experience across the creative industries, David started his career in economic development before working as a programme manager for the Arts Council and the Department for Communities.

Carol Fitzsimmons MBE is the Chief Executive of Young Enterprise NI Northern Ireland's leading enterprise education charity. Having previously specialised in learning & development in the private sector, she is a strong advocate for the benefits of providing young people with the opportunity to develop entrepreneurship skills from a young age. In May 2019, she was awarded Institute of Directors NI Director of the Year for the Third Sector.

Darragh Neely has over 25 years of experience in the design industry and has been the Creative Director of Darragh Neely Design Works since 1997. He is a keen participant in design education and student focussed activities and has taken on numerous interns in his studio over the years.

“We have such a massive pool of talented creatives in our sector here locally - a sector which is constantly overlooked. It’s so difficult to judge each year as the entries just get better and better. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!" Darragh Neely 

Holly Foskett won the 2017 Northern Ireland Creative & Cultural Skills Apprentice of the Year Award. After completing her apprenticeship with Black Box Belfast she secured a permanent role with the charity, becoming the Admin and Communications Officer. She’s now returning to the competition as a judge, bringing with her the perspective of a young person at the beginning of their career in the sector.

There are six categories in this year’s awards:

  • Northern Ireland Creative Employer Award 
  • Northern Ireland Education & Industry Collaborative Project Award 
  • Northern Ireland Creative Tutor Award 
  • Northern Ireland Intern of the Year Award  
  • Northern Ireland Creative Student of the Year Award 

The judges will be looking for candidates which have demonstrated the impact they have made through their role, a strong level of ambition, the work they have done to go above and beyond, and for clear evidence of their achievements.

Darragh said, “We have such a massive pool of talented creatives in our sector here locally - a sector which is constantly overlooked. It’s so difficult to judge each year as the entries just get better and better. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store!"

The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Friday 11 October. 

Nominations should be submitted using the online nomination form, and self-nominations are accepted. If you are unable to complete this form online or require it in a different format please contact us at sarah.jones@ccskills.org.uk or 07880 230 594. 

Further advice on how to complete the nomination form is available in our guidance notes.


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