Minister Paschal Donohoe presents at-risk young adults from Dublin’s north inner city with ‘Career LEAP’ certificates of participation

Posted on: 06 December 2018

A pioneering work-readiness ‘Career LEAP’ programme developed by education experts at Trinity College Dublin is leading the way in supporting an inclusive labour activation agenda for at-risk young people in Dublin’s north inner city. Through the support of local business and community members, young people between the ages of 18-25, who are at risk of falling through the cracks in their local communities, are securing and sustaining employment opportunities and starting their careers thanks to the ‘Career Leap’ training programme. Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe presented these young adults with certificates at a special event, celebrating their achievements in the Central Bank on Dublin’s North Wall Quay last week.

Congratulating all participants, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, said: “As the local representative for the area, I know Dublin’s north inner city well. I know the warmth and strength of community that exists here in this vibrant part of Dublin. The ‘Career LEAP’ programme provides a valuable route for young adults into the rewarding and fulfilling world of employment and/or education. Now in its fourth year I commend the programme’s graduates, for the determination and commitment they have shown. I have no doubt that they will be regarded by many in their communities as role models for others. I wish them every success for what I am sure will be a bright future ahead.”

Philip Lane (Governor of the Central Bank), Annemarie Lester (Career LEAP graduate) and her sister Sarah Lester (Career LEAP graduate), and Paschal O’Donohoe (Minister of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform). Both Annemarie and Sarah did their work placements in the Central Bank of Ireland.

Half of the graduates are already in employment having just completed the programme. The gathered audience of community groups and businesses in docklands and city centre will hear that almost 90% of hard-to-reach young adults who completed the Career LEAP (Local Employment Action Partnership) programme are still in full time employment or in formal education up to two years after the programme began in 2016.

The programme, funded by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) and the North East Inner City (NEIC), and delivered in conjunction with Swan Youth Services, East Wall Youth, and over 20 businesses in the docklands and city centre area, brings together all of the stakeholders and partners in an integrated model of service provision, where the young people receive training to prepare them for working in a diverse workplace, and the business mentors receive training to help them to provide appropriate support and opportunities for the young adults, many of whom have had no previous experience of working.

The programme represents considerable savings to the public purse, and has been shown to build the personal, social, emotional and cognitive skills necessary for developing career identity and work-readiness in young people who face significant barriers to entering employment. Developed by Trinity College Dublin’s School of Education, it draws on cutting-edge educational and occupational psychology to help young people transfer the skills learned during the training to everyday life and the workplace.

The high success rate of the programme is thanks to Career LEAP’s focus on evidence-based interventions and strong partnership between community services, business and researchers, according to Associate Professor in Education at Trinity, Carmel O’Sullivan, who leads the research team and delivered the training.

Professor O’Sullivan commented: “As an integrated model, the training component of Career LEAP prepares participants for a structured transition to the workplace, and it also prepares mentors in the businesses to be ‘employer-ready’ to support these young people who can face significant barriers to entering the workforce. Career LEAP responded to the need for ‘joined-up thinking’ in service provision in the north inner city, and has a role to play in supporting the Government’s movement towards inclusive labour activation. Youth unemployment figures (15-24 year olds) remain difficult to shift, standing at 11.4% as of June 2018. But operating within a coherent employment policy at local, regional and national levels, Career LEAP offers a structured and integrated model of service delivery for those who have been traditionally marginalised in Irish mainstream society. It aims to become a nationally available training resource for hard-to-reach young people and others who face additional challenges in gaining employment.”

Trinity Registrar, Professor Paula Murphy, added: “Trinity is very proud of the work of Carmel O’Sullivan and her research team in developing and implementing Career LEAP, which is valuable for the participants and the community and also for the University. It shows how the University’s academic expertise and innovative thinking can transform society and enrich lives. It is a great example of what the University can achieve working with community organisations and businesses. In addition, Career LEAP as an integrated model, attests to a strong evidence-based, effective programme that prepares participants for employment.”

Community partner, Director of Swan Youth Service, Mairéad Mahon, whose organisation works with marginalised young people in the North East Inner City area, said: “Career LEAP has been complementary to our work and provided the participants with a holistic and empowering opportunity for personal development, skills development and the experience of new social and work environments. Through their engagement in this unique and innovative programme it will greatly enhance their progression routes and their employability prospects. We can see the long-term and sustainable opportunities for the better outcomes and brighter futures for the young people and the community in the North East Inner City.”

The programme was funded by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) and the North East Inner City (NEIC), the Taoiseach’s Task Force in the north inner city. It was conducted in the offices of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Jordan O’Reilly (Career LEAP graduate), Philip Lane (Governor of the Central Bank), Paula Murphy (Trinity Registrar), Luke Bewley (Career LEAP graduate), Paschal O’Donohoe (Minister of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform) and Carmel O’Sullivan (Trinity Career LEAP PI, School of Education).


Testimonials from the young adults and participating partners:

Eoin Mc Manus, Career LEAP graduate, who received his certificate of participation at the launch, said: “It helped me think outside the box. I learned how to deal with conflict and how to negotiate in employment. It was insightful hearing the business people share their experience with us and it was mad how some of them dropped out of school but are now in management. There is hope for everyone.”

Jordan O’Reilly, Career LEAP graduate, who received his certificate of participation at the launch, said: “It helped me get out of bed, reflect on life, and meet business people. I think it would be good for other people to do this programme, and I know some people who are looking to do it. It gives young people opportunities to gain experience. Young people like me need extra chances, and more opportunities to prove ourselves.”

Jamie Mangan, Career LEAP graduate, who received his certificate of participation at the launch, said: “This programme helped me develop as a person. You get to gain experience in a place where you thought you would never work.”

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