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Contents for Issue October 2019

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Youth Work Ireland's 'Work to Learn' Programme

“A major benefit of the programme is that it sets the participants on a path to employment or further education in pursuit of a career path, resulting in better outcomes for the participants in avoiding unemployment, and for society as a whole.”

Marking the 4th year since its inception in 2016, this year’s Youth Work Ireland’s Work to Learn Programme was launched by Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Staunton T.D. on Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019.

The Work to Learn Programme, which has been expanded this year, is a Garda Youth Diversion Project work experience initiative that provides vulnerable young people with the opportunity to get real-life experience in various occupational placements. The aim of the programme is to expose young people who are at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice system to the world of work, while supporting them in the challenge of undertaking paid work, with all of the responsibilities that this entails.                                             

As noted in intallaght.ie, Director of the Work to Learn Programme Matthew Seebach commented before the launch: “150 young people have participated in the Work to Learn Programme since it began in 2016. The Programme has been effective at changing young lives in communities which are overcoming challenging social issues. I am delighted the Programme will now help even more young people to find employment.”

Minister Staunton commented on the benefits of the programme at the launch: “The successful operation of the programme is dependent on a level of cross community co-operation that requires the GYDP, youth services and the business community to work together to create opportunities for the young persons involved. The programme will provide valuable experience and learning for the young persons involved and will help them establish a good work ethic, gain useful skills and to respect others, including their employer.”

A major benefit of the programme is that it sets the participants on a path to employment or further education in pursuit of a career, resulting in better outcomes for the participants in avoiding unemployment and for society as a whole.

On youthworkireland.ie Josh McKevitt, 15, who has participated in the programme discussed his experience of working in a barber shop in Cobh, Co. Cork: “I really enjoy my work, like coming in on time and being friendly with people which is a really important aspect of the work. I’ve learned skills from working here in the Barbers in Cobh. In terms of my future, I would really like to be a barber. I’ve changed my mind about what I’d like to do when I leave school and I have more money than I used to have. The youth workers help me fill out my forms and my family are really proud of me.”

Work experience programmes in mainstream education, such as those in Transition Year and in the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme, have been extremely beneficial to students in that they give students a glimpse into the world of work, and help them decide what they want or don’t want to do when they finish school.

Initiatives such as those like the Work to Learn Programme target those who are not in mainstream education, and help to reduce youth unemployment, as well as cultivating self-esteem and responsibility in vulnerable young people.