A social enterprise is looking to sign up hundreds of professionals to help Irish students to think more creatively.

The Big Idea is aiming to bring 800 mentors on board for its 2023 programme, which will see them work with 4,000 students across the country.

The programme aims to help students gain creative thinking and mental agility skills.

"We've been through massive upheaval in recent years, our young people are facing a lot of challenges," said Niamh Cooney, head of development at The Big Idea. "When we talk about creative skills, we’re talking about skills like collaboration, adaptability, critical thinking and creative problem solving.

"These are some of the most critical and in-demand skills not just in industry but also across society."

The mentors are asked to help students as they develop their projects over a number of weeks, though mentors can adapt the workload to suit their availability.

The Big Idea was established by product designer Kim Mackenzie-Doyle in 2020 and aims to bridge the gap between industry and education.

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It is supported by Creative Ireland, while Ms Mackenzie-Doyle is member of the Government’s Design Skills Implementation Group, which is part of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs.

Its last programme saw 400 mentors helping 2,000 students, with volunteers from companies including Stripe, Primark and Microsoft.

Ms Cooney said they’re looking for applications from any professionals who use the kind of skills they’re looking to develop in young people, no matter what industry they come from or level they are at in their careers.

The Big Idea says it currently has a waiting list of 10,000 students seeking to get involved in the programme.

It aims to be able to work with 8,000 students by 2024.