The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and both Longford / Westmeath ETB and Laois Offaly ETB have awarded funding for a Targeted Youth Employability Support Initiative and Youth Work Ireland Midlands have successfully implemented 2 projects in Westmeath and Offaly respectively.
The employability programmes operate under the guidelines of the Targeted Youth Employability Support Initiative supporting young people aged 16-24 years towards progression pathways to employment.
Young people not in education, training or employment (NEETS) including those “hidden” NEETS are our target group, resulting in the development of a successful pilot programme Building My Future in 2019, which was funded by DCYA as a nine-month intervention with hard-to-reach NEETS young people. Building My Future which ran to capacity, showed the need for a follow-on intervention and The Building Skills Programme in MYP and YOYO POP in Mullingar EYE were subsequently designed as a direct result to meet the continuing needs of the target cohort and draws together the expertise and experience of two Mullingar based youth service providers (Mullingar EYE & Mullingar Youth Project).
The Building Skills Programme and YOYO POP meets the practical and day to day needs of the target group, learning new skills, and developing soft skill in line with the seven proximal outcomes for Youth Work, but there is an ongoing need to put more focus on the coaching and mentoring element to enhance both programmes ability to supply young people with the individual 1-2-1 support, information and skills needed to pursue vocational pathways suitable to their interests, skills base and ambition.
Taking a local partnership approach, this initiative the coaching, mentoring and 1-2-1 programme will encompass the co-design and co-delivery of a programme that aims to work with the most disadvantaged disengaged and disenfranchised young people in our catchment area.
Building on relationships already formed through youth work continue to offer young people the opportunity to recognise the soft skills they already have and to build on them through mentoring, group and one to one work. This year to date, Youth Work Ireland Midlands have supported 8 young people to achieve MEWP certification through training facilitated within their own community, which, along with one to one CV work, has already led these young people to full time employment.
Also on offer and in progress is a Personal Development Programme – QQI Accredited, as well as a QQI 4 Woodwork programme which is delivered in partnership with Offaly Traveller Movement. Young people also have access to Industry experts through career evenings, and have already had a chance to speak with experts from the FAI and Gardai Siochana.
Youth Workers across the region also utilise elements of NYCI’s Skills Summary programme in an offline and online setting, helping young people to draw on their new skills and compile their own statements to validate their employability.