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Employment and Youth Work Edition


INSIDE Contributors: Niamh Hand Dr. Chris McInerney Sue Redmond Padraig McGrath Mick Cowman Elaine Nevin Maria Griffin Donal Kelly

Employment and Youth Work Edition Issue 81, December, 2014 ISBN: 0791-6302

Scene Magazine Issue 81, December 2014 Contents 3

A Word from our CEO Dr. Patrick J. Burke, Youth Work Ireland


Introduction to this Edition Matthew Seebach, Youth Work Ireland


Green Pathways Elaine Nevin and Niamh Hand, ECO‐UNESCO


Linking the Most Marginalised to Jobs Padraig McGrath, The Carer’s Association


YEP Youth Employment Model Mick Cowman, Bradóg


Work Winner Programme Donal Kelly, TRYS


Opening your Mind to Mindfulness Sue Redmond Ph.D


Interview with Tina Blau, the IYWC Library Alice Kinsella


Youth Work Ireland Meath Celebrating 25 Years of Success Maria Griffin, Youth Work Ireland Meath


Research Review Michael McLoughlin, Youth Work Ireland


Research Brief Dr. Chris McInerney, University of Limerick


New Library Resources


Policy Brief Michael McLoughlin, Youth Work Ireland



Production Editor: Matthew Seebach, Sub‐Editor for this Edition: Alice Kinsella Layout: Gina Halpin Cover Image: Youth Work Ireland National Consensus Conference 2014 © Marc O’Sullivan Printing: IFP Media Contributors: Patrick Burke, Mick Cowman, Maria Griffin, Niamh Hand, Donal Kelly, Alice Kinsella, Padraig McGrath, Dr. Chris McInerney, Michael McLoughlin, Elaine Nevin, Sue Redmond and Matthew Seebach. The team at Scene Magazine would like to extend a special thanks to Alice Kinsella who worked so hard as sub editor on this edition. Contact: Irish Youth Work Centre, Youth Work Ireland, 20 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1, Tel: 01‐8584512 Email:; Website: Disclaimer: It is open to all our readers to exchange information or to ut forward points of view. Send in news, comments, letters or articles to the editors. Views expressed in this magazine are the contributors own and do not reflect those of the Irish Youth Work Centre or Youth Work Ireland.




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our CE O

Greetings all and welcome to the Winter edition of Scene Magazine. The theme of this edition is employment and youth work. Those of us working in the youth sector are very aware that the practice of youth work is very good at helping young people get the skills, information and advice they need to gain employment. While this is not and should not be the main purpose of youth work, there is significant evidence to show that interventions in the youth work context bring young people closer to the labour market. Youth work occupies the informal learning space in which many of the so called “soft skills” necessary for the world of work such as team work, creativity and project management are learned. The European Commission’s Expert Group Report on Developing the Creative and Innovative Potential of Young People through Non‐formal Learning in Ways that are Relevant to Employability acknowledges this. It correctly lays a strong emphasis on the need for understanding non‐formal learning and for closing the gap between the labour market and informal learning. This introduction reads: There is a need to recognise and value non‐formal learning in a creative and innovative way, raising the visibility of skills acquired outside the formal system and fostering complementarity between non‐formal and formal learning, while at the same time promoting equal opportunities. Rethinking Education, 20.11.2012, COM (2012) 669

Such thinking is timely given the increased emphasis on outcomes, certification and employment in working with young people today. The Better Outcomes Brighter Futures Policy Framework and some of the early thinking on a National Youth Strategy make it clear that increasingly the emphasis in policy is as much on “work with young people” as “youth work”. In many respects this developing distinction allows for a broader canvass of activities and expectations in terms of outcomes. At the same time, the emphasis from employers on the formal training and education system and the certification it gives rise to, is a core feature of the Irish labour market. While an appreciation for soft skills is often professed by employers, the evidence of their actions suggests something different. This makes the challenge in communicating and explaining informal learning all the greater but nevertheless critical to the youth sector. In addition to the soft skills which young people learn in the context of youth work, there are within the sector fine examples of targeted training and employment initiatives. This comes in the form of formal state sponsored programmes such as Community Training Centres, Youthreach, Community Employment Schemes etc. In addition, the sector has developed its own innovative responses to the scandal of the ongoing pervasive and persisting high youth unemployment levels. Unfortunately in spite of the fact that many of these innovative programmes have been independently evaluated and shown to work, they have not been funded or replicated by Government. We had hoped that at least some of the Youth Guarantee funds from the EU would have been diverted to support such innovation. Even though youth work can and does play a significant role in bringing young people closer to the labour market, the youth work sector needs to maintain an essential focus on its core values, principles and practices. Our practice has a much larger agenda in terms of working with young people to nurture the growth and development of the “whole” young person. Youth work is valuable in itself. While it does have instrumental use in relation to the labour market it continues to be much much more than just that. May I take this opportunity on behalf of the young people, volunteers, staff and Board of Youth Work Ireland and its Members to wish all readers the complements of the Season and a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Dr. Patrick J. Burke CEO Youth Work Ireland

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Introduction to this Edition Matthew Seebach, Youth Work Ireland Every year Scene Magazine readers are surveyed to identify their interests and the issues they would like to read about in upcoming editions. In 2014, youth workers identified development education, volunteers in youth work, the new national outcomes for children and young people, and youth employment as the key issues. From last year’s survey, the topic of youth employment and youth work was one of the most highly rated. In responding to this choice, the editors of Scene Magazine have taken the position that youth work is very good at supporting young people to engage in employment, but that care is needed to ensure that youth workers are not given the impression that the main outcome or objective of youth work should be in the area of youth employment. This premise, is not solely our own thinking, but rather it is supported by a recent European Commission report (reviewed in this edition pg. 20) Developing the Creative and Innovative Potential of Young People through Non‐ formal Learning in ways that are Relevant to Employability. This Expert Group Report, chaired by Dr John Bamber of the Centre for Effective Services, states that; The purpose of youth work is not to provide jobs but engagement in the wide variety of personal and social development activities that it offers; helps young people to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are frequently said to be needed in the labour market. These include teamwork, communication, leadership, flexibility and responsiveness. They also include creativity and innovation, which involve defining problems, coming up with ways of dealing with them, and sticking to a chosen course of action. In this way youth work contributes to closing the gap between the competences acquired by young people and the needs of the labour market.

The main purpose of youth work is clear, but sometimes youth work goes beyond its main purpose to respond to emerging issues, such as youth employment. How then can youth work go beyond its main purpose to respond to youth employment? The answers roughly summed up another report entitled, Mapping the Contribution of Irish Youth Work to Youth Employment. This report is forth‐coming from the Youth Affairs Unit, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the Centre for Effective Services. Very roughly summarised, the report makes the point that in Irish youth work, young people are supported to access employment in four broad ways:


1. Through the generality of provision young people gain skills and competencies that are relevant to employment. In this edition, the links between the youth work approach and employment support are well illustrated in the article about the YEP programme piloted in Bradóg Youth Service and Sphere 17 Youth Service. 2. Youth work can link youth employment work to relevant issues. The Green Pathways programme provided by ECO‐UNESCO demonstrates that a youth work organisation can effectively develop a youth employment programme that supports and links to issues relevant to their mission and purpose. 3. Youth work can provide programmes that actually place young people in jobs. The Work Winner programme in Tipperary Regional Youth Service describes exactly how such an initiative can be successfully supported by a youth service. 4. And finally, youth work projects can focus on ensuring that those who are furthest from opportunities to engage in the labour market are brought closer to those opportunities. In this edition the role of youth work approaches in engaging with young people who are socially excluded is discussed in an article by Padraig McGrath of the Young Carers Project. In meeting with the authors of the articles and discussing their experiences, it has become clear that youth work projects often do more than one of the above things. All effective youth work has a social inclusion element. Many youth work projects that deal with employment include job placement. The point is that the four approaches named above are a simple way of understanding youth work’s contribution to responding to the issue of supporting young people in employment. This simple framework, we hope, will be of assistance to you in considering the learning that is offered in the articles of this edition. Moreover, we hope that this thinking will help you to reflect on how your work might, or might not, be placed to respond to the issue of young people and employment and how these approaches relate to your own youth work values and objectives.

Matthew Seebach is Federal Coordinator of Youth Work Practice with Youth Work Ireland Scene Magazine

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Green Pathways Helping Progress Young People Back to Work Elaine Nevin & Niamh Hand, ECO-UNESCO

Established in 1986, ECO‐UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental educational and youth organisation, affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations. ECO‐UNESCO works in the field of environmental education, training and youth empowerment with a wide range of target groups focused principally on young people aged between 12 and 25. As a FETAC accredited training centre since 2005, ECO‐UNESCO runs a range of accredited training courses. In 2012, combining its youth work experience, its environmental expertise and its training accreditation, ECO‐UNESCO developed ‘Green Pathways’, an accredited youth employment programme aimed at upskilling young people to avail of the job opportunities within the green economy. Funded under Momentum, the programme ran between 2012 and 2014 and successfully worked with over 60 long‐term unemployed young people, progressing them onto further education, training and employment. The “Green Economy” is a key area of growth as outlined in the Government Action Plan on Jobs 2014 and therefore offers opportunities for young people who are long term unemployed.

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In 2014 building on the experience from Green Pathways I, ECO‐UNESCO developed ‘Green Pathways II Environmental Studies and Skills’. Funded under the Momentum, Green Pathways II commenced delivery in November 2014, in Dublin city centre and is currently working with 25 people. The aim of this free programme is to progress participants who have been unemployed for more than one year, onto paid employment. Throughout the 2014‐2015 we will work with over 70 people. All participants on the Green Pathways programme receive professional environmental training, motivational training and a work placement to help them get their ‘foot in the door’ to companies and organisations they may not otherwise have access to.

Green Pathways has helped me to communicate with people; before the course I couldn’t converse with people due to low confidence, but now I am able to speak to people

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What is the approach of Green Pathways? The ‘Green Pathways II Environmental Studies and Skills’ programme runs over 6 months ‐ 27 weeks in total and comprises a 3 week intensive induction, 3 FETAC accredited courses, a work placement, and 1‐2‐1 mentoring. Participants also have to complete a Value Added Project which they complete in their work placements. ECO‐UNESCO uses its specialised expertise in the green economy, sustainable development, ecology in the environment, gardening, landscaping and horticulture to develop specialist skills for employment. The approach is to work with young people to develop their confidence, their self‐esteem and their motivation and to help them identify their strengths, their likes and ultimately the career path that they want. Throughout the programme ECO‐ UNESCO offers motivational training. Green Pathways II introduced the 3 week induction module to build candidate’s self‐ confidence, self‐esteem, their


programme and to improve their attitude to return to work following a long period of unemployment. The Induction programme includes an introduction to the programme and potential job prospects, motivational training, group work and project work; an initial 1‐2‐1 meeting for participants and mentors to create an Individual Learner Programme (ILP) and outdoor activities. A group project is also introduced to strengthen team work skills, communication skills and personal development. To date, this intensive 3 week induction programme has helped build confidence and motivation of current participants while also preparing them for the course ahead.

All participants in the programme complete a range of FETAC accredited training courses; these include a FETAC level 5 in Sustainable Development – this covers the links between the environment, society and the economy; upskills participants how to develop and carry out an audit including a quality of life indicator set; introduces participants to permaculture among other areas. The other environmental course is a FETAC level 6 Course on Ecology and the Environment; participants upskill in environmental studies, ecology, conservation biology and population studies/habitat assessment and gain knowledge in current environmental, ecological, conservation and policy issues. The third FETAC module offered is the Work Experience FETAC Level 5 module. This module is a key component of the programme and is essential for the participants as they will gain key skills to make them more employable. The module covers many aspects of employment support including: job search, interview skills, mock interviews, CV and cover letter writing, personal


development, weekly support meetings and a skills and interest test whilst at the same time providing participants with an accredited qualification. From our experience in 2013 all of these skills gained from this module have proven to be highly valuable in the participant’s journey to employment. Another key element of the programme is the substantial 3 month work placement which includes one support day per week in ECO‐UNESCO. The aim of this work placement is to provide students with the opportunity to engage in a practical application of the course material in a structured supervised experiential learning environment and to gain a ‘foot‐in‐ the‐door’. Participants are matched with organisations that closely match their interests and aspirations. ECO‐UNESCO has a strong relationship with local businesses and has placed 52 participants in 2013 with over 40 work placement companies in the Dublin area. The 3 month duration of the full‐time work placement along with the continued support has been very positive for past participants.

Green Pathways has given me the confidence to believe in myself and motivate others. Its shown me that not only am I capable, but proud to be me to my full potential.

le c i t Ar motivation d re to participate in u t a and complete the e F

The Green Pathways II programme links to the needs of the local labour market. Research by ECO‐UNESCO included consultation with over 30 employers in Dublin which highlighted a niche local employment need. Feedback identified a range of positions across a variety of different job opportunities in the green sector; employers are looking for up skilled

employees such as gardeners, botanists, horticulturists and ecologists. This research built strong links with local employers who have identified a skills gap and in result will increase the career prospects of the participants. ECO‐UNESCO also uses mentor support as a main element of the programme with participants meeting on a weekly basis with their allocated mentor. During the meetings participants develop an Individual Learner Plan (ILP). Previous experience has shown a growth in confidence and motivation when participants have a structured plan in place with employability and personal set goals to aim for. The 1‐ 2‐1 mentor meetings help to determine participant’s individual needs and assist them on their way to employment. These meetings discuss aspects of the work experience module and each participants CV is reviewed by their mentor.

Conclusion ECO‐UNESCO has reviewed the success of Green Pathways I programme and the impact that it has had on the 60+ young participants in 2013. Participants have found they have increased confidence; they are more motivated to progress and now feel they have some of the necessary skills to do so. Through the programme these young people have not only gained FETAC accreditation and hands on work experience, but they now have a greater number of employment opportunities open to them. For many the programme has proved key in their own personal development and guiding them towards the next step in their careers. The success of the programme is a combination of many elements including a focus on increased self‐ esteem, the learner‐centred

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approach, provision of accredited trainings, ongoing personal and employability supports and securing a quality work placement. Central to the success of this programme has been the participant’s determination, dedication, energy and enthusiasm. Many from the 2013 class have progressed onto paid employment while others are now pursuing further and higher education.

Ireland has one of I have my the highest rates of dream job and unemployment, Green Pathways particularly youth got me here unemployment in Europe, but we also have a hugely ambitious and talented population. ECO‐UNESCO wants to give young people the chance they deserve and allow their strengths and ideas to flourish in a supportive and pro‐active environment. With the green economy earmarked as an area for huge growth, this programme focuses on up‐ skilling people today, allowing them to be at the forefront of one of tomorrow’s leading sectors.

The Green Pathways programme has created many great opportunities for participants to date. Over the coming year we are looking forward to motivating, upskilling and empowering Green Pathways II participants and to providing them with the confidence, cutting edge skills and work experience to help them achieve their ambitions.

ECO-UNESCO’s Green Pathways II – Environmental Studies and Skills programme is funded under the Momentum initiative. Elaine Nevin is the National Director of ECO-UNESCO Niamh Hand is the Green Pathways Project Officer for ECO-UNESCO The authors would like to acknowledge the support of SOLAS. For more information visit: Scene Magazine

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Linking the most marginalised to jobs Padraig McGrath, The Carers Association Youth work addresses one of the most commonly disregarded groups in society, young people, but even within this field there are some marginalised groups which can still be overlooked. Their opportunities for engaging with the labour market are limited by their social exclusion and basic steps are required to bring them closer to opportunities for work and further employment. Padraig McGrath works with one of these groups, young carers. Padraig is the Young Carer’s Development Officer at The Carers Association. So who are young carers? Young carers are young people who provide significant care and support for a family member or household member who has a physical or mental illness, a disability or abuses substances. These young people often lack support from their surroundings as they take on a huge amount of responsibility at a young age. The Carers Association has twenty‐two centres nationwide; Padraig is responsible for coordinating the young carers projects in these centres. Life is far from easy for young carers. Getting to a position where they can access employment or further education is more difficult for them than for the average young person. One of the biggest challenges for young carers is that they are often invisible to teachers and to other professionals and they may not receive the care and support they require. They cannot always attend school and this leads to issues keeping up with schoolwork. This and ongoing care responsibilities exclude these young people from the labour market. As


they are often young people coming from under‐privileged backgrounds, an education is necessary to help them access employment. As young people they have to choose between giving care and doing their homework, but as adults they have to choose between a career path and looking after the person in their care. Additionally many young carers suffer from mental health difficulties, and do not always have access to the help they may need. When properly supported care giving is a positive experience, but when not properly supported the education and social barriers can last a life time. The Carers Association aims to improve the life of young carers. While the project is in its infancy, the goal is that each of the twenty‐ two centres will have a young carers project. This will provide a support group for young carers, where they will tackle the issues and barriers that young carers face. They offer a series of programmes, looking at prime training opportunities for carers, helping them gain access to

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the labour market. The projects also want to provide help for the young carers who experience mental health issues, providing aid by giving them access to counsellors, as well as other means of support. Padraig and The Carers Association seek to help these young carers, but there are problems for those that try to help too. The biggest

challenge the projects face is identifying young carers. Most young carers don’t want to come forward, they have fears of social workers, changing family environment, as sometimes the care roles they hold are inappropriate and seen as a form of neglect within the home. This discourages the young carers from seeking the help they need, making them difficult to identify. Another challenge they face is a lack of funding, running such ambitious projects takes money as well as time, aid from the government and other sources is needed to ensure these projects reach their full potential. There are solutions for problems such as these. Awareness of young carers and the problems they face is necessary. Awareness needs to be raised about young carers themselves, their families, the professionals who work with them, schools and at government level. Until recently young carers were not a significant part of the government’s agenda, though The Carers Association has had meetings with the Department Of Children and Youth Affairs, and hope that this is a step in the right direction. The Carers Association hopes that awareness and funding will help them to provide the support groups which are needed. Support is needed for young carers within the schools, access to education and practical skills to help them gain employment. Youth work has a role in assisting young carers. Youth workers can be aware of young carers in their community, project or youth club, so that they can be provided with the support, care and guidance they need. It is also vital that youth workers become aware of the challenges faced by young carers. When working with young carers in a youth work context awareness of the following can assist in the social inclusion of young carers:

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Fea tur ed Young Ar carers often ticl don’t have time to e socialise or make friends,

be aware and give support in this area. • Young carers often have a lack of support at home because of their caring role, and being able to access support elsewhere is fundamental to their wellbeing and opportunities for inclusion in the labour market. • Dealing with young carers is often unlike dealing with other young people, they can be very mature and responsible, more so than average for their age, because of the responsibilities they have taken on at a young age. Clearly, young carers are not on equal footing with the other young people in terms of accessing education, employment and being able to socialise with peers. Like other socially excluded young people, they are several steps removed from the labour market. The basic functions of youth work: outreach, support and providing a social space can assist in bridging that gap. In addition, youth workers can work in collaboration with specialist agencies like the young carers project. Through such steps social and educational barriers for young carers can be lifted, drastically improving their chances of achieving the lives they wish to live.

For more information contact The Carers Association:


YEP! Youth Employment Model by Mick Cowman The YEP! (Youth Employment Programme) is a successfull initiative developed by two different areas: Bradóg Regional Youth Service in North West Inner City Dublin and Sphere 17 from the Dublin 17 area around Darndale in the north Dublin suburbs, in association with City of Dublin Youth Service Board. Running from October 2013 to October 2014 it aimed to develop a specifically youth work approach to working with 100+ young people aged from 16-24 who were not in education, training or employment. Many of the young people targeted experienced low skills levels, had limited knowledge of the options available and/or experienced other personal and family challenges. YEP! had a Steering Committee with representatives of local agencies involved in this type of work, and some employers who offered assistance and ensured complimentarity between the different services and approaches. The Partners felt that the project was successful, compatible with the values and aims of youth work and can be extended to reach certain sections of the youth population which mainstream services find difficult to engage.

A Youth Work Approach Essentially the YEP model is predicated on a number of principles, thus it is voluntary not compulsory; no one is threatened with losing welfare payments unless they “voluntarily” go down to Bradóg/Sphere 17. Our experience to date has been that a large proportion of socially excluded young people ARE willing to voluntarily engage and stay engaged, because they want a future, and are unhappy with the present.

It is Developmental: we see finding a career or a purpose in life that is fulfilling, as a core challenge for all adolescents and that youth work must be in there with its members/young people. They are in a transitional phase in their lives; there is a window of opportunity for them to find a groove, and we must help them stay in touch with their hope that they can be someone before cynicism and depression kicks in.

It is Person Centred; its origins do not lie in a desire It is Safe: we do not threaten or harass the young to cut the numbers on the dole, or save the exchequer – in fact it may, in time, cost more in the short term. Increasingly the narrative is to get young people into any jobs, to cut their payments, to stop them being a burden on the state. We see the young people we are working with as needing help to plan a life, to address the obstacles that have led to them doing nothing. Participants may choose work, education or training; some may decide to tackle something seemly unrelated first like a housing issue or an addiction issue.


people with losing benefits; and our salaries do not depend on them getting any particular specific jobs or outcome. Thus the temptation to push people into unsuitable jobs is not there. And if they need to work on addiction or health issues so be it, we have time.

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Delivery is through a Community Based Service like Bradóg or Sphere 17 This brings a number of features: Ongoing Commitment: A youth service is about the only body, apart from their parents, that will stay with a young person as they move through the various developmental stages from childhood to adulthood. They lose contact with primary teachers as (if) they move to secondary school; when secondary school finishes, sometimes not voluntarily, they cease contact with those teachers; while the focus of social welfare is usually to assess eligibility for dole and/or get them off the dole queues.

Local Innovation (for segments of the labour market): We feel the target group are drifting and are part of a minority that State services do not work with effectively; indeed the State tends not to be good at pioneering new approaches for minorities as they are geared to standardised mass programmes nationwide. The State can however, recognise and support the workable solutions that those closer to the market develop.

Scale: This is not to say all youth services can or should do this work, but a regional youth service with a number of workers has in house experience of devising,

implementing, evaluating programmes and managing inter agency relationships and the capacity to both plan the work and deliver the frontline staff.

Local Delivery: the response needs to be targeted to the needs of the local areas. For example, the needs and resources of an ethnically mixed Dublin inner city area will differ from outer city suburbs and rural areas and this variety should be built into any model.

Trust/“The Brand”: we have known most of the young people in the area for many years and have their mobile phone numbers, their Facebook accounts etc. Participation in our service is voluntary and so we negotiate a relationship; this means we can and have rung at 7a.m. to remind someone of an interview; or at 11 a.m. to get someone out of bed because they have got into the habit of watching movies all night; or we can raise drug, alcohol or other issues that are blocks to developing a career.

Evidence Informed: we are committed to basing our work on identified need and approaches that work, recording the learning and sharing the lessons with others.

YEP has Potential for “Vertical and Horizontal Integration” To ensure the successful development of a youth employment process, partnerships need to be developed horizontally with local services and agencies firstly, to ensure young people are aware of and can gain access to local services. Secondly, so the programme avoids duplication and thirdly, so that potential for joint delivery of programmes can be explored to maximise the outcomes for young people. Partnerships need to be developed vertically from local youth services to policy level ensuring that information and learning is moving both ways.

retention to developing life skills that are attractive to employers. However, this is not a systematic approach. But with the right resources it could be far more systematic and structured.

For more information on either organisation you can contact

We feel that preparation for employment starts much earlier than a youth employment programme. In a range of ways a youth service is preparing young people for employment, from supporting school

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WORK Winner Donal Kelly, TRYS

The Work Winner Programme supports young people to develop their employability through training and work experience. Tipperary Regional Youth Service (TRYS) is an integrated youth service which works with young people aged between 8 and 25 years old. We manage a range of projects in Co. Tipperary and East Limerick, which include working with disadvantaged young people, providing targeted interventions in the areas of youth justice, substance misuse, family support, as well as supporting volunteer led clubs and community initiatives. For the past five years, we have placed a strong focus on youth unemployment. To this end we have created a bespoke model to support young people who are removed from the labour market to access training and work experience in order to gain entry into the jobs market.

Employer Local/ Private

Development Companies / Local Agencies 12

A fledgling project that started as an 18 week pilot programme in 2009 is now a well‐tested evidence based programme that has a proven track record of success. We call this programme the Work Winner Programme. To date we have worked with approximately 200 young people with 70% of these young people remaining in the employment/training sector after they complete the programme. The Work Winner Programme works with young people to identify what they are interested in, and what in terms of local employment they are suited for. The Work Winner Programme provides training and qualifications, and places a high emphasis on relevant work experience which both help


Dept. of Social Protection

Young Person TRYS

participants to become accustomed to the workplace, and also provides them with an advantage over other job seekers when looking for employment. This helps balance some of the disadvantages they have in terms of background, qualifications, socio‐economic status etc. The current mainstream employment/ training programmes only serve to push those most at risk further from engagement. The most marginalised are left to compete with highly educated, highly skilled workers and graduates. Existing programmes are all employer driven, there is a chasm between young people and work placement/employment/training that cannot be vaulted in one step. The Work Winner programme aims to provide a young person centred approach to supporting young people to enter and remain in employment on a long term basis, thus having a positive impact on their lives into the future.

Lessons Learned • Stay true to the principles of youth work practice. • Take a person centred approach. Everybody says put the young person first but how many “activations” are ever designed after meeting the young person, or in consultation with the young person? The reality is that training providers are normally forced to come to the table with their programme pre‐ determined; in the case of mainstream programmes it is normally the needs of the employers that are prioritised over the needs of the participants. It is not a criticism of the schemes or host organisations; they are obliged to look after the best interests of their organisation and they have a duty of care to fill these posts with the best and brightest, and with the organisations’ needs taking precedence. It does however leave those furthest from the labour market unable to even compete in this world. The difference with the Work Winner Programme is that it seats

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Fea tur ed Ar ticl e

the young person at the nucleus with participant needs paramount. They are the architects of their own training and are consulted in all facets of training, employers and individual supports, with the majority of the power resting with the participant. Voluntary participation is a cornerstone of the process, participants receive NO additional payment they must opt in for something other than financial gain and are not coerced by any agency into joining the programme. The participants must buy into the values of the programme. We ask participants for a very large commitment of time and effort, and never sugar coat the very hard road ahead. We will work with you and we will work very hard for you, but most of the heavy lifting will have to be done by you. The process of the ‘youth work’ relationship with the young person is key to meeting the young person where they are at; just because a young person receives a “jobseekers” payment in no way makes them a “jobseeker”. Mobility: Issues surrounding young people’s inability to move outside estates or towns has lead us to constantly search for solutions. This phenomenon is further exasperated by the lack of public transport and

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the issue of rurality. To counteract it we have sourced lifts and arranged for training to take place in Dublin and Limerick to expose our participants to other places. It has become very evident over the years that the mobility issue is as much a mental one as a geographical issue with young people allowing their worlds to become very small places. The international element of the programme has developed slowly over a number of years culminating in a short term pilot version of the programme taking place in London in 2014 where ten young people from our projects were sent on a micro Work Winner Programme. It is expected that as this develops in 2015 in partnership with Leargas and the Tony Ryan Fund, we can begin to further address the mobility issues that can cripple a great deal of the young people of Tipperary . Be Rich in Practice and in Evidence. We use tools to capture all progression, including photos, the outcome star, the transtheoretical model of change, films, questionnaires etc. The sector has collectively been taking massive forward strides in this regard as we attempt to clarify and articulate the value of our work. The journey and findings of the past five years have been documented by Dr. Eileen Humphries University of Limerick, and Sinead McMahon LIT Tipperary

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and TRYS are on the point of publishing the results.

Conclusion The project has evolved and changed since 2009 bringing on board more stakeholders with the Dept. of Social Protection, Tipperary Education Training Board and the Local Development Company now the major partners. The success and momentum of the programme has seen new funders such as the Co. Council, Leargas, Caring Communities (CFI) and other organisations across Ireland adopting the model and supporting where possible the delivery of the programme. However, the core values and goals of the project remain the same, it responds to a real need with an effective bespoke training model that delivers real outcomes to both the community and economy. It also endorses the fact that youth work will always provide the best opportunity to engage with the most marginalised young people.

Donal Kelly is Work Winner Project Co‐ordinator at TRYS (e) (w)


Opening Your Mind to

Mindfulness by Sue Redmond, PhD., Our worlds are busy, we face many challenges every day. It may start with simply getting out the door to work, battling through traffic, or facing into the mountain of work on your desk. Demands, both internal and external face us every day. How we are, is how we deal with them. How we are, affects those around us. As individuals and educators, ‘how you are’ affects the people you interact with whether they are your children, colleagues, employees or clients.

happiness is madness, and really, why should they? Mindfulness is about seeing the wonderful in what is. All too often we are not happy with what is and we want to change what is. We want to change other people, saying ‘I will be happy when that person changes and stops being so angry’ or ‘I will be happy when I achieve this thing’. 'I will be happy when...' is a fools game as no sooner have you arrived than the goal post changes.

As humans, one of our unique conditions is that we are constantly thinking about either the past or the future. Unfortunately, we are rarely in the present moment, but it is in the present moment that everything happens. The only thing we have control of is ourselves in this present moment, nothing else. Coming into the present is important, as it is here in the present that you can look after yourself.

The question is, 'why not be happy now?' Why would you deny yourself happiness in this moment for something that may or may not happen? Why not decide to be happy in this moment and every moment? The only thing we have control of is ourselves. Why would we make a condition of our happiness someone else’s behaviour? It doesn’t sound very intelligent does it? Sadly, we do this all the time.

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in the present moment without making judgement (Kabat‐ Zinn, 1990). The key piece here is without judgement. All too often we are judging ourselves, other people, our actions, other people’s actions, our values and other peoples’ values. Mindfulness is being present without judgement. Accepting that what is, is. Accepting reality as it is. Accepting yourself as you are. Accepting other people as they are, and not trying to change them. The only real change comes from within, trying to force other people to change for your

So now I offer you an opportunity to bring mindfulness into your life. It is not easy, but it is really quite simple.


Bring your attention to your hands, when you are working watch your hands. Bring your attention to your food, when you are eating think about what you are eating, where it came from and what it tastes like.

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Bring your attention to your breath, when you are inhaling observe your inhalation and observe your exhalation. What do you notice? Bring your attention to your hearing, when you are hearing listen, really listen and hear the sounds near and far. Bring your attention to your sight; see what is in front of you, trees, rivers, lakes, birds and people. Really see.

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Learn to observe yourself, your feelings, your thoughts and be non‐judgemental. Learn to anchor yourself by developing self‐control and discipline with your mind and your ability to be in the present.

It’s time to look at work and life more comprehensively and holistically. Do you have an idea about where you want your organisation to go?

Mindfulness is for people who want to be more fully aware, to improve their overall quality of life and live life to the full. The practice of intentional, non‐judgmental awareness of moment‐to‐moment experience can assist in cultivating well‐being in an individual’s life. Empirical research has also begun to demonstrate the benefits of mindfulness both at a personal level and a professional level.

I can offer a unique package to get you there including some or all of the following:

At a Personal Level Research by Davis & Hayes (2012) reviews the impact of various empirical studies and outlines that mindfulness can lead to emotional regulation, stress reduction, boosts working memory, reduces rumination, leads to less emotional reactivity, greater cognitive flexibility and enhanced relationship satisfaction.

At a Professional Level A study on the impact of mindfulness for teachers indicates that mindfulness for educators boosts aspects of teacher’s mindfulness and self‐compassion, reduces psychological symptoms and burnout, increases effective teaching behaviour, and reduces attentional biases (Flook et al., 2013).

1. Bespoke training & programme development tailored in the areas of leadership, change management, organisational development, ethics in leadership, emotional intelligence, staff well‐being and a range of youth development topics. 2. Comprehensive research & evaluations which support learning and development. 3. Coaching for executives and individuals to enable them to clarify their direction and reach their full potential. 4. Mindfulness training to integrate presence and awareness to enhance well‐being and decision making.

Conclusion Come into the present moment, there is really no reason not to, for it is here that you will find contentment and happiness.

References: Davis, D.M. & Hayes, J.A. (2012) What are the benefits of mindfulness, Monitor on Psychology, vol 43, no 7, p. 64 Flook, L., Golderg, S.B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K., Davidson, R.J., (2013) Mindfulness for Teachers: A Pilot Study to Assess Effects on Stress, Burnout, and Teaching Efficacy, Mind, Brain and Education, 7, 3, 18

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Best of all, I am a scientist and embed the most up‐to‐date available evidence in everything I do.

You can contact me at or 086‐8102770


Meet Tina, the Irish Youth Work Centre Librarian Here at Youth Work Ireland we have our very own library which is accessible to all members and a truly wonderful resource. Where there is a library of course, there is a librarian, and ours is Tina Blau. Alice Kinsella checks in with Tina to look at what her job entails. So Tina, can you tell me a bit about your role here at Youth Work Ireland? My name is Tina Blau and I am the librarian here at Youth Work Ireland. This doesn’t just mean physical books; this means I look after the whole library here, which is mainly the online open access catalogue. This has all our resources available to search online, which is an easy way to see our resources.

And what have you been doing with this resource? I look after the library very carefully! I keep it regularly maintained. I’ve been reorganising it and making sure everything that we have is in the online catalogue, I also regularly add new resources.

Add resources? Yes, I want to keep the library as up to date as possible, so I’m always adding new things! To add resources I search all relevant sites, such as various government departments such as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education, looking at their newest resources and adding them to our catalogue. I also search all the universities for their new publications regarding youth work and NGOs such as Barnardos. Basically, I’m trying to get new resources into the catalogue on a weekly basis, making sure you can get everything relevant to your search in the catalogue.

It’s a wonderful thing to have at your disposal because here we have all youth work related resources in one place, easy to search and find things relevant to your work or research. We cover very specific Irish youth work topics such as Quality Standards and Garda Youth Justice projects. Because our catalogue is so specifically youth work related, you don’t have to go through an entire public library, or through the entire internet to find something relevant. The catalogue is very specific and easy to navigate.

And how can youth workers make use of this? Youth workers can use our library to help with their work interests, practice concerns and research interests. It’s just like a normal library but specific to youth work! Just go to to find the catalogue home page. You can search the catalogue to find everything available online or to borrow from us. Our membership is free, and anyone interested in or involved in youth work can come join our library and borrow any books or resources we have. We’re lucky to be able to offer you this really amazing library service free of charge.

And finally Tina, how can you help youth workers in their use of the library?

Part of my job as librarian is helping youth workers access the library, what is a library if the resources in it aren’t read after all? I have quite an intimate knowledge of what is in the library. So if you have any queries about various This sounds like a great resource; can you tell me different searches library or what might be useful for your why this is? individual search I can steer you in the right direction. Just It is a great resource! The catalogue holds records of contact me at and I will be glad to help you. thousands of physical pieces and provides hundreds of electronic files including academic articles, research reports, I’ve also been helping with some bibliographies so we have specific lists of resources related to specific areas which I government policies, toolkits, handbooks and magazine can give you. I’m here to help navigate the library, I know articles, all of these are related to young people and youth work. These resources are all easily downloadable by users. the catalogue, I know the resources. I’m here to help you find whatever you need.

IYWC OPAC The catalogue holds records of nearly 3000 physical items and access to 776 electronic files including academic articles, research reports, government policies, toolkits, handbooks and magazine articles – all related to young people and youth work. A large proportion of these items are indigenous Irish research and as such the OPAC constitutes the largest single repository of electronic information related to Irish youth work. See for more information.



2015 AVIVA STADIUM APRIL 18, 2015 For more information on how to get involved contact

Youth Work Ireland Meath Celebrates 25 Years of Success Relaunch of Youth Café and 25 Year Anniversary of Youth Work Ireland Meath It has been twenty five years since Youth Work Ireland Meath first came into being, a long road that continues today, Youth Work Ireland Meath has a lot to be proud of! This September we had a lot to celebrate, not only had we just celebrated our 25th anniversary but we were about to re‐launch our newly refurbished Youth Café and a variety of new programmes for our youth groups. The Youth Café has been providing a safe space and essential support to young people in Navan since 2006. Staff, volunteers and young people have worked long and hard to redecorate and refurbish our Youth Café on the grounds of St. Mary’s Church, Navan, Co. Meath.


The Work of the Youth Café The ethos of Youth Work Ireland Meath is to ensure young people are learning, developing, connected, respected and contributing to the world. In line with this, this year we rolled out a host of new supports and opportunities for our young people. We are pleased to be continuing to facilitate our evening youth clubs, not only this, but we have also opened our doors for a new Saturday group for young people aged 12 to 16 offering a host of social and developmental opportunities for these participants. Our resources reach many different groups of people. We currently run a successful service for the local LGBT community in conjunction with Outcomers‐Dundalk. We have also recently started our new programmes incorporating drop in resources for

young people who are unemployed and young mums and dads. We look forward to continuing to support our local schools providing a space for local pupils to come and engage with staff and volunteers and enjoy a safe space to play pool, table tennis, computer games and other activities to pass their lunch time safely.

The Work of Youth Work Ireland Meath Youth Work Ireland Meath has a packed schedule, aside from all our work at the Youth Café we work in many different areas. We are continuing to run mock interviews in local schools for senior cycle students. We encourage our young people to participate in annual events such as the recent One World Week where a group of our young

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people developed and delivered a presentation on recycling with the guidance of our youth worker Peter Mulligan. This piece of work was really enjoyed by the group and our youth clubs benefitted from the hard work they presented to them. All in all, Youth Work Ireland Meath’s 25th year has been a successful and exciting one. Our re‐launch gave us an enormous opportunity to celebrate our redesigned and refurbished Youth Café while allowing us an opportunity to introduce our new programmes and supports for our young people, promoting and encouraging their self‐development and empowerment. Our young people are hugely proud of their efforts. The Local support shown by the large attendance at the launch gave us a wonderful chance to acknowledge their hard work on their mural, re‐launch and our cooperation with the UNICEF Ireland project. Youth Work Ireland Meath, its staff, volunteers and young people are very proud of this year’s work and we look forward to another exciting and successful year! Article by Maria Griffin, Maria is a Youth Worker with

Youth Work Ireland Meath

Youth Work Ireland Meath & the International Youth Summit At our relaunch this year we took the opportunity to remember and highlight our participation in UNICEF Ireland’s International Youth Summit on 19th September 2014. We cooperated with UNICEF in developing a project promoting equality, inclusion and diversity for young people; #Itsaboutus. This project helped our LGBT group created a mural inside our Youth Café. This mural celebrates the diversity and inclusion promoted by Youth Work Ireland Meath, City of Dublin Youth Service Board and UNICEF Ireland. Our representative at the summit was our youth worker Maria Griffin, who is a member of our over 18s LGBT group. The day was a huge successful meeting of young minds; an opportunity to share plans and opinions for an Ireland, and indeed a world that reflects equality and inclusion while promoting the rights of young people globally. The special guest of the day was Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. James Reilly who opened the summit by releasing balloons with the hopes and aspirations of the young people gathered written upon them.

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itself and informal learning are welcome headline contributions from the report and the EU Commission as both face challenges in the Irish policy environment.

RESEARCH Review Developing the Creative and Innovative Potential of Young People through Nonformal Learning in ways that are Relevant to Employability

The emphasis from employers on the formal system and the certification it gives rise to, is a core feature of the Irish labour market. While the appreciation of soft skills shows up in work with employers, the evidence of their actions suggests something different. This makes the challenge in communicating and explaining informal learning all the greater.

Drawing on the distinction between youth work and work with young people may be useful as may be the experience of some Youth Work Ireland members. In some instances programmes offered to young people in the fields of employment and indeed other fields are actual mainstream formal State programmes. Where does this leave the value of the informal approach? Interestingly enough, it is still there. A more formalised programme still benefits from the recruitment and The European Commission’s Expert Youth Strategy makes it clear that outreach that a youth service brings, Group Report on Developing the increasingly the emphasis in policy is also the ongoing supports and Creative and Innovative Potential of as much on work with young people aftercare all the mark the youth Young People through Non‐formal as youth work. In many respects this service approach in this area. Learning in Ways that are Relevant allows for a broader canvass of to Employability is a comprehensive activities and expectations in terms In the area of youth unemployment analysis of a difficult topic. It of outcomes. clearly getting young people “a correctly lays a strong emphasis on start” is really crucial. Careers the need for understanding non‐ In many respects all learning should generally have a habit of looking formal learning and closing the gap be innovative in its content and after themselves over time, and between the labour market and process, but perhaps we in Ireland experiences of unemployment later informal learning. have come to associate the formal in life can be dealt with through education sector as lacking in networking and connectivity. So it Such thinking is timely given the innovation particularly at senior may be a question of youth services increased emphasis on outcomes, cycle and in the area of vocational being able to do both informal and certification and employment in learning where repetitive tasks and formal work in this field, even with working with young people today. It rota learning have evolved as the the same young people. In many is important to understand the dominant methods. The formal respects this is the natural end of different things that are going on in education system is enormous in the Policy Framework and the Irish youth services certainly in Ireland terms of funding, staff and employer’s obsession with formal when reflecting on these questions. institutional strength which may in certification. This makes the youth The Better Outcomes Brighter some way explain the battle the service, in many respects and even Futures Policy Framework and some report indicates for recognition. more important, a gateway. This is of the early thinking on a National Setting the priorities as youth work not to belittle the contribution of

Expert Group Report


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Res ear ch It is Rev important to be iew realistic about the European contribution and role. While figures like €6bn seem like a lot when spread across all Member States and several years the real challenges become obvious. In the end of the day labour markets remain profoundly local institutions as the radically different youth unemployment rates in different EU member states illustrate. Those delivering youth employment measures through local youth services know the real challenges in doing so despite the talk of getting out of silos and the Youth Guarantee. Any support from the EU Commission on youth work and informal learnings role can only be welcomed.

Research Review by: Michael McLoughlin. Michael is Head of Advocacy and Communications with Youth Work Ireland and has formerly worked with the ESF Evaluation Unit. informal learning, and the need to improve its reputation and certification is clear. Our FETAC system should be able to provide certification for all sorts of interventions and tasks from the most basic to higher levels. In many respects a “dual” approach of formal and informal learning is both idealistic and pragmatic as it seeks the best outcomes for young people in the here and now and realises the funding crisis that youth work has experienced in Ireland in the last few years. Similarly many in the youth work field may fear that this is a new area they are being asked to deal with on a reduced budget. In more recent times youth unemployment is falling in Ireland, it is important to examine why. Despite the advent of a “Youth

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Guarantee” it would appear that market forces are probably doing more than active labour market policy in reintegrating young people into work. However, with the massive cuts to young people’s unemployment payments it may also be fair to assume that the jobs they are getting are low paid and temporary. We need to maintain a focus on the values and principles of youth work when it is youth work groups delivering interventions, whether formal or informal. Time spent with trusted adults is still important, as is critical understanding. There are many ways to build team working and other informal skills with young people, but those that involve adults and young people together will be best.

Issue 81, December, 2014

This report was prepared for the Youth Working Party, Council of the EU, by Dr John Bamber (Centre for Effective Services, Ireland) with the assistance of the Commission and expert group members. The report can downloaded from: /library/reports/creative‐ potential_en.pdf


RESEARCH BRIEF Feeling Safe in Ennis A Research Collaboration between Clare Youth Service and the University of Limerick It was during the Ennis 2020 consultation exercise, a process designed to find out what people in Ennis felt was important about the future of their town, that the issue of feeling safe first arose. In fact, it first emerged in a ‘world café1’ discussion facilitated by Clare Youth Service and supported by the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Limerick (UL). This first collaboration between youth service and University, designed to get the

views of young people on the future of the town, indicated that at least some young people felt unsafe at least some of the time. Echoes of these views were also heard during the consultations with the broader population. So, for those charged with acting on the conclusions of the consultation, Ennis Town Council, this indicated a need for further investigation. As part of its on‐going commitment to civic engagement and, more

particularly, to the Ennis 2020 initiative, UL offered to carry out some more detailed research on the issue of community safety, looking both at direct experiences of crime as well as people’s perceptions of safety, recognising when it comes to feeling safe in public spaces, future perception may be just as important as past experience. Three distinct surveys were undertaken, one aimed at the general population involving 198 people (65% female and 35% male); one aimed at senior cycle secondary school students involving 118 respondents (86% female and 14% male) and a third carried out by a group of young people in the youth service with support from UL and involving 90 participants (56% male and 44% female). The differences in the breakdown between males and females is important as international research in this area would suggest that females are more likely to express fear for their safety while younger people, and young males in particular, are more likely to report experiences of being a victim of crime. All three surveys asked the same questions and the opportunity to compare experiences across different groups was seen as particularly valuable.

So, what were the headline findings? Firstly, the surveys identified that the direct experience of crime amongst the general population was lower than that of younger people. Amongst the general population, 20% of the survey group said they had experienced crime. While this was a little higher in the school survey at 25%, in the youth service survey it rose to 33%. While this final number reflects the higher number of males in the survey, it is undoubtedly a cause for concern. More significantly however was the response about perceptions of safety. Participants in all three surveys were asked if


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Res ear ch Bri ef

they had felt unsafe at any time during the previous year. While those saying yes to this question amongst the general population was 46%, the rate reported in the youth service survey was 64%, while it was lower in the school survey at 55 %. A situation where almost two thirds of young people say they have felt unsafe during the past year is clearly of concern and highlights the many different challenges facing young people today. A variety of reasons for feeling unsafe were cited by all groups but in general all pointed to the impact of loud and aggressive behaviour on the streets, inadequate lighting, inadequate presence of Gardai , public drunkenness, some area specific issues and group specific issues. While only a portion of the survey findings can be reported in this relatively short article, this valuable collaborative research between Clare Youth Service and UL points to a need to address the

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relatively high level of crime experienced by young people but, perhaps more urgently, to address those factors that have caused young people to feel unsafe. The research findings have been reported to the local authority and to the Gardai, both of whom have indicated a willingness to work with the Youth Service to consider the implications and possible responses. 1 World CafĂŠ is a method of hosting conversations about questions that matter with those to whom they matter.

Dr. Chris McInerney is Course Director with the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick

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Editor’s Note In the youth sector we assiduously consider the findings of initiatives such as the Central Statistics Office, Growing Up in Ireland and other national and international research findings to identify problems, trends and opportunities in order to effectively engage with the needs and aspirations of the young people we work with. Given that this research is representative of the population as a whole, they may not, as seems to be the case in the research provided here, be representative of the young people who we work with – those in a particular demographic, or geographic location. This suggests a need for collaborations such as that one described to ensure that we accurately understand the experiences, needs and aspirations of the young people we work with before planning service provision or policy.


New Library Resources Laying the Foundations: A Guide to Youth Drama Facilitation by Dave Kelly, 2014 Laying the Foundations: a guide to youth drama facilitation is a programme of ten drama workshops accompanied by notes for facilitators and advice on the process of facilitating a youth drama group, all presented in an easily accessible format that can be referred to again and again. Facilitation is a live process and not something that can be fully captured in words. The exercises in this manual provide basic structure and the accompanying notes and materials help with any challenges that may arise and how to navigate them. This book has been written for all drama facilitators, trainee drama facilitators, new youth theatre leaders, senior members, teachers and youth workers who want to develop their drama facilitation skills.

Measuring Employability Skills: A Rapid Review to Inform Develoment of Tools for Project Evaluation by R.Blades, B.Fauth & J. Gibb, 2012 Amid concern about the numbers of ‘NEET’ (young people not in education, employment or training), there are numerous initiatives focusing on increasing employability among young people. ‘Employability skills’ focus on the personal, social and transferable skills seen as relevant to all jobs, as opposed to job‐specific technical skills or qualifications. The acquisition of employability skills may be seen as a necessary first step in path towards long‐term employment. This report summarises a brief review of relevant literature undertaken to assess the potential for developing a new tool to support the evaluation of


projects aiming to enhance young people’s ‘employability skills’: those personal, social and transferable skills seen as relevant to all jobs, as opposed to specific technical skills or qualifications. It considers the importance of employability skills and rationale for their measurement evaluation.

Online Research available from the IYWC’s OPAC Library Transitions to Long‐Term Unemployment Risk Among Young People: Evidence from Ireland E. Kelly, S. McGuinness and P.J. O’Connell, ERSI Working Paper No. 394, 2011 Many young people have short spells of unemployment during their transition from school to work however, some often get trapped in unemployment and risk becoming long‐term unemployed. Much research has been undertaken on the factors that influence unemployment risk for young people during their school‐to‐work transition. However, very little is known about the factors associated with long‐term unemployment risk for those youths that become unemployed. This paper attempts to fill this gap in the literature by identifying the characteristics associated with young peoples’ long‐term unemployment risk in Ireland.

A Case Study of One Individual’s Life in the Context of their Unemployment and their Engagement in a ‘work ready’ Occupational Therapy Irogramme. Victoria, Morgan, University of Limerick Institutional Repository, 2012 The negative health implications of unemployment are well documented and wide ranging such as high levels of chronic disease, impaired mental health and less purposeful use of time. Occupational therapy values participation in meaningful activities which can play a key role in alleviating these effects. The occupational therapy department in the University of Limerick facilitated a ‘work ready’ group programme. The goal of the programme was to improve wellbeing and occupational functioning for those who were unemployed. This research presents a case study of one individual’s life in the context of their unemployment and their engagement in the ‘work ready’ programme. The findings present how the programme facilitated a positive impact on health, increased satisfaction with occupational performance and a more positive approach towards unemployment for one participant.

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Scene Magazine Important News for Readers From January 2015 hard copies of Scene Magazine will be available ONLY on a subscription basis for a fee of â‚Ź20 per year (4 editions). Free copies of each edition of Scene Magazine will be available electronically from the online platform

issuu is a free digital publishing online platform that attempts to simulate the experience of reading a print publication online. issuu is accessible on any mobile, tablet or android

To receive your free electronic copy go to If you would like to receive a hard copy in the post on a quarterly basis please complete and return the enclosed subscription form or contact Free copies will continue to be provided at IYWC and Youth Work Ireland events and to institutions and organisations on an archive basis.

POLICY BRIEF Youth Work Ireland’s Policy Brief aims to inform and update practitioners about current developments in national policy Compiled by Michael McLoughlin, Youth Work Ireland

Budget 2015

Youth Unemployment

Budget 2015 saw the return to a more positive situation in the public finances with no major cuts to public services. However there was no recognition of the need to redress some of the damage done in public services for young people. A less reported on development was the second Comprehensive Review of Expenditure mapping out the spending limits for the forthcoming years. In the case of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs more cuts are envisaged with Youth Information particularly being singled out for attention. The CRE envisages early consultation on these matters and this will be critical.

The last few months have presented a mixed picture on youth unemployment. A downward trend has continued but it has not been uniform in terms of non‐seasonally adjusted figures. Emigration remains a major issue as confirmed by the CSO’s migration estimates in August. The fact that these figures are produced annually and not related to the unemployment figures is a major flaw in our system of statistics. It appears that unemployment and youth unemployment are responding to the beginning of economic recovery, but little of this improvement is due to the Government’s labour market policy.

National Youth Strategy

Child Protection and Garda Vetting

Following on from the publication of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs Policy Framework, Better Outcomes Brighter Futures, work has now commenced on a further sub strategy aimed at the youth population. This will not be a youth work strategy but focused on work with young people. A steering group has been established to work in this area. Unfortunately the timescale is extremely tight and the level of representation of the voluntary sector, who are recognised as the key deliverers of youth work under the 2001 Youth Work Act, is very poor. 26

Despite improvements in waiting times and volumes for Garda Vetting the system continues to raise concerns. Reports that a considerable number of teachers have not been vetted suggests a different approach to staff working with NGOs and charities. A thorough review of the system with new legislation approaching seems to be in order. A passport system which would allow staff effectively bring vetting with them when changing jobs would make a difference to the system and be cost free. Scene Magazine

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Junior Cycle Student Award The need for reform in the formal education system at second level is well established at this stage. There are several reports from the NCCA on how things can be changed to improve the system for young people, the country and employers. The new Junior Cycle Student Award is the result of years of research and debate. With its move towards more assessment and more realistic project type work it has been welcomed by groups such as the Second Level Students Union and Voices of Youth. Teachers need to reconsider their industrial action in this context.

DCYA Statement of Strategy As part of new procedures in public service management each Government Department now must produce a statement of strategy against which its performance is measured. These are effectively the business plans for Departments, they set out the high level objectives and the methods by which these will be achieved. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is currently preparing its Statement of Strategy and has invited submissions.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children held a meeting with Gordon Jeyes the new CEO of the Child and Family Agency TusLA on September 25. The discussion was wide ranging covering all aspects of the work of the agency and issues relating to children. In July James Reilly the newly appointed Minister for Children and Youth Affairs gave the quarterly briefing to the committee. The presentation covered places of detention, children first, the children and young people’s participation strategy, ERASMUS+ and other areas.

Ombudsman for Children There has been considerable change at the Ombudsman for Children’s Office with the departure of the first Ombudsman Emily Logan to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Great credit is due to Emily Logan for establishing the office and setting out its role and remit. It was a very significant period of change in the area of Scene Magazine

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children’s rights during this time and several long lasting initiatives were taken. It is positive that young people will be involved in the recruitment of the new Ombudsman.

Direct Provision After many years of criticism and pressure from domestic and international commentators the government has announced its intention to examine the system of direct provision for asylum seekers. This system, where asylum seekers live in designated accommodation where food and board are provided, is seen to be particularly problematic for children in terms of their development, socialistation and education. The review is aimed at examining the system but it is unclear if the issue of payments will be addressed and already there appears to be disagreement in Government circles on the issue. Youth services have a proud record of working with young people in direct provision from day one.

The Voice of the Child in Family Law The newly established Law Centre for Children and Young People (Ireland), in partnership with the UCC Child Law Clinic, are organizing a free public seminar: The Voice Of The Child In Private Family Law Proceedings: Experiences From The Irish And U.S. Courtrooms. This event is open to the public but will be of particular interest to legal and other professionals supporting children and families in legal proceedings, members of the judiciary, academics, policy and law makers, front‐ line service providers and NGOs.

Download the full edition of Youth Work Ireland’s Policy Brief


Scene Magazine, Issue 81, December 2014  

Scene Magazine is a resource for and by youth workers in Ireland. This edition focuses on Employment and Youth Work and features articles ca...

Scene Magazine, Issue 81, December 2014  

Scene Magazine is a resource for and by youth workers in Ireland. This edition focuses on Employment and Youth Work and features articles ca...