Request for Expression of Interest in Delivering SORT IT- A Psychology Programme to Support Young People to Problem Solve and Learn to Learn


Youth Work Ireland Cork invite organisations, who provide alternative educational/training services for young people aged between 16 to 25 years NEET, to roll-out our high-quality, interactive, evidence-based programme for young people. This programme is a 9-week (2 hours per week) programme that supports self-awareness, problem solving, resilience and grit in young people. Through the use of interactive computer games, videos and dynamic learning young people are facilitated to analyse, strategise and solve common challenges in working and learning environments including managing interpersonal difficulties, motivation issues etc. Devised specifically for young people in alternative education environments for Youth Work Ireland Cork by UCC and Quality Matters, this programme has proven to be an invaluable addition to the curriculum of the Cork LTI and we are happy to offer an opportunity to our partners to roll this programme out in their service for minimal cost.


In 2016 Youth Work Ireland Cork received funding from the DCYA Youth Employability Initiative (YEI) to develop a programme to improve employment opportunities for those young people not in employment, education or training (NEET).  The Sort It programme was developed in partnership with UCC Psychology Dept and Quality Matters to address the needs of young people at risk of early school leaving or early school leavers and who are at a distance from educational opportunities or/and the labour market.  This year we have received funding from the QCBI Innovation Fund to further develop this programme

Overall aim of the Sort It Programme:

Learn and practice the skills to education and employment challenges with specific aims to:

  • Have a better understanding of their own experiences of learning, through reflection and discussion Have a better understanding of the role of the ‘fight or flight’ response in preventing learning
  • Be able to apply some simple techniques to shift from ‘fight or flight’ into problem solving mode, to help them overcome problems in the classroom or workplace
  • Learn a simple four-step strategy for approaching problems they encounter in the workplace or classroom
  • Apply the four-step SORT It strategy to a range of work or learning-based scenarios and tasks.

This is a nine week programme delivered in nine 2 hour sessions.

The programme was piloted successfully with a cohort of young people in Youth Work Ireland Cork. The progress of this group, as well as feedback on a small scale evaluation, indicated promising findings. This has led to a ‘pilot roll out’ undertaken in four additional sites in Cork city and county.  This has been completed and is being evaluated as part of a randomised control trial by a team in University College Cork. The results of this RCT are expected later in the year, and we anticipate will provide proof of outcomes in terms of supporting problem solving, self-efficacy and perceived stress among other potential outcomes.

Youth Work Ireland Cork is confident that this programme will, with additional roll out and evaluation, prove to be an evidence-informed, high quality programme that can be embedded in educational and social programmes for young people across a range of youth work and educational settings in Ireland.

Youth Work Ireland Cork feels the next crucial step in establishing proof of model and evidence base beyond the four-site RCT is to undertake a national roll out that will add value and consolidate this programme as one that can be confidently adopted by services working with at risk youth across Ireland.  We propose to undertake a national roll out in 10 – 15 additional sites (those providing education support to at risk young people) across Ireland, which includes an impact evaluation of outcomes for young people at programme end, 6 months and one year.

If your organisation is interested in engaging in a national roll out of this programme while gathering proof of the effectiveness/impact of this model the following criteria is required. You must be a:

  • Youth work organisation providing support services for young people NEET
  • Youth work organisation delivering a Local Training Initiative (LTI) for young people aged between 16 and 25 years
  • Commit to delivering the programme for 2 hours per week for nine weeks
  • Be willing to start this programme in January 2019
  • Support a simple programme evaluation – the administration of outcomes surveys with young people who participate at the beginning, end, and two points post programme delivery

If you wish to participate, your organisation will receive:

  • Full access to an evidence based interactive quality programme for young people
  • Full access to all high quality, graphic designed programme materials
  • Detailed guidance on programme delivery and evaluation
  • Access to online training and support for your programme facilitator
  • Be part of the establishment of an evidence informed, national programme for youth skills development

Please note that expressions of interest are not a guarantee of engagement in the pilot national roll-out. We will endeavour to include you, and will inform you at the earliest possible point if you have been prioritised for participation.

Submission Deadline: 30th September 2018.

Contact Eleanor in Youth Work Ireland Cork