Development & Alumni Relations Office 


28 September 2018

Fashion stylist and blogger Rebecca McKinney, LLB 2008, better known as one of Cool FM’s early morning breakfast trio, has been appointed an ambassador for #YouthEmpowered, an initiative dedicated to empowering, educating, and promoting growth and social awareness to 18-30 year olds.

The radio presenter, who joined Cool FM in 2014 while still working as a stylist in Victoria Square, signed up with #YouthEmpowered – a Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) initiative – in August.

Rebecca (pictured centre above, with participants on the #YouthEmpowered programme) is now urging young people across Northern Ireland and Ireland who are not in education, employment or training, to register for free life and business courses at

In its second year, the #YouthEmpowered programme supports young people by giving them access to the skills they need to transition into work. This year also saw the introduction of the new Digital Hub, offering e-learning courses to equip job seekers with essential work-related expertise.

The programme also offers employability workshops based training, online content and mentoring support, while seeking to equip young people with the confidence to aim high and make their goals a reality.  

Speaking to Queen’s this week, Rebecca said: “Coca Cola #YouthEmpowered is a scheme I am so proud to be an Ambassador of.

“It's so important to give young people in Northern Ireland an outlet to explore their potential, or even to take a step in the right direction to achieving job goals, if they are perhaps a little lost.

“I understand what it feels like to have an unconventional career path and the importance of believing in yourself and taking risks! The new Digital Hub offers free online training and support and I think it's brilliant to grow confidence and encourage young people to pursue their passions.

Rebecca’s career journey to date has been far from conventional – from law graduate to fashion stylist to broadcaster. Despite not following the legal route, she still has fond memories of her time at Queen’s.

“Queen’s will always hold a special place in my heart. I studied law for 3 years there and really grew so much as a person during my time at University.

“Although I didn't practice, I'm very proud of my law degree and I have no doubt that the communication skills I gained at Queen’s have helped me in my broadcasting career.”

With approximately one in ten young people across Northern Ireland currently unemployed, #YouthEmpowered encourages those who are looking for extra help to use their creative talents and to believe in themselves.

Over 450 under 30s benefitted from classroom training sessions in 2017 and it is the ambition of Coca‑Cola HBC that 750 young people will ultimately benefit from the programme in 2018, through both live workshops and the new online training.

The new #YouthEmpowered Digital Hub provides fundamental life and business expertise including courses in financial literacy, time management, project management, business, negotiation and sales techniques.

This year, with the support of Business in the Community Northern Ireland, Coca Cola HBC is expanding the number of classroom-based workshops to 30, delivered in partnership with Fastrack Into IT (FIT) and YouthAction NI, across Ireland. And with mentors from Coca-Cola and business partners The Rotary Club of Belfast and JCI (Junior Chamber International), the initiative to unlock youth potential is gathering real momentum.

Following her Law degree at Queen’s – at which point Rebecca decided to pursue her twin passions of broadcasting and fashion – she studied for a Master’s in Communication, Advertising and PR at Ulster University.

A year as an Account Manager at a Fashion PR agency INC Marketing, was followed by three in Victoria Square where she headed up a personal styling service, getting involved in fashion show production, campaign styling and management, and – using her communications skills – with blogging and media work.

Rebecca is now part of the Cool FM Breakfast team alongside Pete Snodden and Paulo Ross, and is on-air Monday to Friday from 6am-10am.

Her advice to someone starting out on their career path is simple: “Don't be afraid to follow your passions; hard work and setting goals, coupled with self-belief and a drive to succeed, will make it happen!

“I know how lucky I am to adore my job!”

General enquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.


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