Year 13 – Commerce Week: Day 1


Monday 11th June launched Commerce Week 2018, an exciting opportunity for 11 members of Year 13 to experience a range of businesses and get unique insights from industry leaders of 11 local companies over four days.

Monday’s overview is written by Matthew Dalzell, 13S.

The first company we visited today was Invest NI. It was here that we met our first contact in Jeremy Fitch, the Executive Director for Business & Sector Development. He covered a variety of topics within Northern Ireland’s economy including that our economy is experiencing a trade deficit of £10 million. He also mentioned that Invest NI is given £150 million every year by the government in order to provide grants along with advice on the way in which businesses can operate more efficiently. This was an interesting and worthwhile presentation which enlightened us about Northern Ireland’s economy, along with explaining the role of Invest NI in it.


Next we travelled to the professional services organisation, Grant Thornton. Once we arrived we met our second contact, Richard Gillan. He told us a little about his own career: he had previously been employed by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) and Deloitte. Richard is now the Managing Partner at Grant Thornton, which is responsible for a number of services like Accounting, Audit and Assurance and Forensics.

After hearing from Richard, we then heard from former pupil, Paddy Bell (RBAI 2004-2011). He told us that alongside gaining vital experience which he required to become a chartered accountant, Grant Thornton also gave him the opportunity to travel internationally with the company.

Finally, we participated in an activity which involved us moving around the board room in order to answer twelve different questions which would ultimately determine our type of personality and what area we would fit in a firm like Grant Thornton.


Finally, we visited Belfast Harbour Studios (BHS) and met our third contact of the day, Alex Boyd. Alex is the co-producer of the studios and is responsible for the organisation of the staff during the filming of movies and television series. When we interviewed her, she told us that an estimated 500-600 people are involved in making each film/ television series.

Our visit to the Belfast Harbour Studios was concluded by a tour around the various sets of the television series Krypton, which Alex co-produced. This was exciting and gave us an insight into what it would be like to work in a film studio.


While our first day was busy; the insights we gained were valuable and the people we met interesting. We are all looking forward to the rest of the week.