Programme to help young unemployed adults in Dublin’s North Inner City

Posted on: 23 November 2016

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, launched ‘Career LEAP’ a pioneering programme to help young unemployed adults in Dublin’s North Inner City gain employment.

The research led programme was developed by Trinity College Dublin’s Head of School of Education, Professor Carmel O’Sullivan in conjunction with Swan Youth Service, East Wall Youth, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), along with 18 prominent businesses in the area.

‘Career LEAP’ (Local Employment Action Partnership) is an innovative educational intervention to help at-risk young adults aged 18-25 develop the social, emotional and cognitive skills necessary for developing career identity and work-readiness. It includes a two-week training programme made up of ten short modules, followed by a three-week unpaid work placement offered by local businesses.

Eleven young people successfully completed the first programme and ten of them are now in employment or education (seven are working and three are in further education).  Minister Donohoe presented them with certificates of participation at the launch. He also awarded community workers and mentors from the participating businesses with Continuous Professional Development certificates who received training as part of the programme.

 L to R -  Graduating students:Leon Bannerman, Hassan Hussein,  Prof Carmel O’sullivan Eric Fay, Leon Fay, Minister Paschal Donohoe, Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Damien Ho, Bibi Rahima, Aisling Ffrench, Gavin Hennessy, Carlos Donovan.

Minister Donohoe congratulated all participants on their achievement:  “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. In recent months, the Government has put a major initiative in place to further support the development and regeneration of the area and to ensure that opportunities are available to all. The ‘Career LEAP’ programme further builds on this and provides a valuable route for young adults into the rewarding and fulfilling world of employment and/or education. I commend these, the first of 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.”

Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast added: “Young people who are not in education, training or employment face severe challenges in entering the workplace and participating fully in society. The north inner city region of Dublin which is on our doorstep experiences particular challenges. Here at Trinity we have a history of tackling disadvantage through the Trinity Access Programmes. I am delighted that ‘Career LEAP’ led by Professor O’Sullivan and her team at the School of Education, in partnership with our community and business partners, is another excellent programme that can provide  effective and innovative intervention.”

Commenting on the programme, Professor Carmel O’Sullivan said: “The training has been specifically developed with activities that resonate with 18-24 year olds’ needs and interests. These activities are grounded in real world issues and problems, to facilitate the transfer of skills learned during training to everyday life and the workplace.”

The results of the study reveal that the partnership approach between community and youth services, business, and research created a highly effective, evidence based model of best practice. There was also a very strong impact reported from businesses on their own workforce who engaged with the young people while on placement.

Chairperson of East Wall Youth, Marie O’Reilly who initiated the partnership study said: “The impact of ‘Career LEAP’ on the youth services and the wider community has been very positive. It has helped the community understand the needs of young people and their commitment to a new and innovative way of learning.”

Chief Executive of Business in the Community Ireland, Tina Roche said: “We congratulate all the young people who embarked on the Career Leap Programme. We especially want to acknowledge the wonderful support of all the companies who engaged with the programme through providing a wide range of supports including training and work placements. Through programmes like these we can build stronger more inclusive societies which is good for both society and for business.”

The first round of participants have reported positive experiences to friends and family in the local community and many more are looking to sign up for another ‘Career LEAP’ course which it is hoped will run in 2017.

The programme was funded by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs along with a number of local businesses. It was conducted in the offices of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.


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