We are a charitable foundation that exists to bring hope and transformation to young people, their families and their communities by harnessing the power of business to create employment opportunities.
Our mission can be broken into four goals:
Empowering young people to work by developing their skills through education and training and building their confidence through mentoring.
Nurturing entrepreneurs to create jobs.
Enabling collaboration with investors, businesses and the third sector to create communities of action to innovatively engage the issue of Youth Employment.
Measuring social impact relating to youth employment.
We connect businesses
and investors to
third sector groups
Significado has observed that even in the most unlikely of circumstances there are businesses operating, innovating and thriving. The entrepreneurs behind these businesses have the ability to view problems as opportunities.
Through our IT HUB programme we work with our business and investment partners to ensure that their impact is focussed on groups in society that desperately need their help.
Significado is passionate about giving businesses opportunities to ‘do good’ in a way that is ‘good for business’. We recognise for change to be sustainable the private sector needs to experience the business benefits as well as being inspired by the social change.
We empower young people to find work
In recent years there have been many positive developments around the issue of youth employment with businesses becoming more active in CSR activities, governments launching targeted programmes and third sector groups developing interventions.
We have discovered that these efforts often only reach a small proportion of unemployed youth, usually the ‘easily employed’ who have the skills, education and confidence to make the transition into work easily. This leaves the vast majority of youth unable to move into meaningful employment leaving them with an insecure future without any real opportunities to break the cycle of poverty they are in.
Those in poverty and those who lack an education are held back from getting their foot on the ladder. Without help it will stay this way for them.
Significado has a deep concern about these young people. We want to see their lives and their communities changed for the better. Our objective is to engage these young people in programmes and training that will provide them with opportunities to transform their lives, their communities and also their nation. By taking a holistic perspective we aim to build the young person’s confidence and aspiration as well as equipping them with the practical skills to be able to thrive in the world of work.
Our Leadership Team
Grant Abraham (Executive Director)
Grant has 20 years of experience working internationally for a range of charities and social enterprises with the past 11 years being spent leading an innovative NGO that developed businesses and social enterprises throughout Asia and MENA. A qualified Solicitor and Barrister he specialises in legal structures that facilitate social impact and is currently working on a doctorate in this field.
Andrew Wallace (Director of Operations)
Andrew has a passion for seeing businesses being used to transform societies. Having worked for a number of organisations over the past 8 years that facilitate social impact for businesses including a four-year period working with Business in the Community, a leading responsible business coalition. Andrew has a Masters in CSR and Sustainable Business from Queen’s University, Belfast.
Marjorie Price (HR and Recruitment Adviser)
Marjorie is an experienced HR professional who over the past 22 years has worked in implementing HR & Recruitment strategies throughout the world. The past ten years have been spent as Chief Operations and Human Resources Officer for an HR Specialist that manages the HR for a range of international businesses and charities. Marjorie has completed her Human Resources Management Program from the University of Prince Edward Island.
Shirleen Sayers (Curriculum Development Director)
Shirleen is a tenured University Associate Professor and qualified public school teacher, and has extensive experience with teaching and training in cross-cultural contexts. She holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, TESL Certification from the University of Cambridge England, a BA in English and a B.Ed as part of a professional teaching designation. She is an active creative writer and is passionate about using language (and language acquisition) as a tool for empowerment of the under-privileged.
Patrick McDonald (Social Enterprise Adviser)
Patrick is a serial social entrepreneur. With an MBA from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, he specializes in the analysis of social problems leading to the design, development and delivery of commensurate solutions.
So far this has led to the development of Viva (www.viva.org). Viva is now a global children’s charity with a unique and admired approach to mobilizing and equipping churches to help children at risk.
John Heaslip (Responsible Business Adviser)
John is the former CEO of Business in the Community NI. John also has significant business experience particularly in retail and distribution. In the early 1980s as MD of Coogan and Watts Ltd, he led a dramatic growth programme that resulted in the company being sold in 1986. John has been awarded the USIA Fellowship to study entrepreneurship and CSR in the US and has lectured on various MBA programs at Ashridge Business School, Queens University and University of Ulster.