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'I loved every minute': This inner city programme for unemployed youths has a 90% success rate

This programme was developed by Trinity College and brought together community groups, local businesses and young people eager to get into the workforce.

3937-220 This year's Career Leap participants - four of them have already secured employment. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan

“I LOVED EVERY minute of it.”

The small group of young people who gathered at Croke Park this morning to receive their certificates for a pioneering training programme repeated this line over and over when asked about their experience.

21-year-old Paul Flood was just about to finish up a painting and decorating course in North Wall Community Training Centre when he heard about the Career Leap programme.

“At night, I was trying to sleep, thinking ‘what’s next?’, ‘what am I going to do?’. That’s something that no young person should do, no one should be doing that at all.”

He and the other participants did three weeks of in-classroom training to build up their interpersonal skills and to show them how to put together a CV.

“Confidence and talking would be something [I had a problem with], I’d break down or stutter. Some people can talk, some people can’t, but it helped me build up an awful lot of confidence. I can walk up to people now shake their hand, engage in a full-blown conversation and even ask for a job. That’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do before the programme.”

After the training, the next step in the Career Leap programme was a three-week work placement and Flood did his with Walls construction.

“I was doing a bit of general operative work and I loved every minute of it,” he told TheJournal.ie. “From when I got up in the mornings until I went home at night I loved it.”

Towards the end of his work placement, a subcontractor working on the Walls site with him offered him a trial.

“After a three month trial and then another three months on the site doing general operative work, I’ll hopefully be registered as an apprentice. So this time four years from now I’ll be a fully qualified plumber,” he said.

Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan

I’m ecstatic, over the moon. My family are delighted, my mam – she’s proud, she told me she’s chuffed for me and I’m delighted myself.

Strengths

This was a research-led programme developed by Trinity College and it involved community groups and 25 local businesses. Researchers today explained that this programme was different in that mentors from the company were brought in to meet the young people and to take part in training themselves, before the work placements were set-up.

As this year’s participants received their certs, Trinity College today launched the results from last year, which indicate the programme is proving successful in getting young people into jobs – and most importantly into jobs they love.

“The results are very satisfactory, with follow up data after 15 months showing that over 90% of young adults who completed the full programme are working full time, or in full time education whilst also working part time,” said Professor Carmel O’Sullivan.

Six of last year’s participants were homeless when they started the programme. Most participants had extremely limited prior experience of working, though the research found they all wanted and had tried to get a job in the past. They had very little idea of what their career values and strengths were or what career might suit them.

Of the 11 young people who completed the programme in 2016, ten are still in employment or fulltime education now and four of the 13 participants this year have already secured employment.

‘He just needed the opportunity’

Des Browne, a mentor at North Wall Community Centre, who worked with Paul Flood in his painting and decorating course, said the opportunity has been “fantastic” for the young people he put forward for Career Leap.

He said Flood was “ready for the work, he just needed the opportunity”.

“The other chap he didn’t know what he wanted, he was with me the last eight months. I’ve seen a chance in his character. His time keeping wouldn’t have been great, his attendance would have been great. Since back from that programme, he’s inspired,” he said.

“He knows what it’s like to be out there working – he was with a catering company. Since he’s come back, he’s in more regular, understands what it means to be work ready. His approach to people, he’s much more confident with people. It gave him great skills.

He’s found himself, no doubt about it.”

Launch of Career LEAP report 06 Minister of State Michael D'Arcy said the government will be working to make sure no one is left behind again. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan

Minister for State Michael D’Arcy spoke at today’s event and acknowledged that the state had “left some people behind” in the recession.

“I’ve described the last decade as the lost decade. We had very little money to do anything really in truth, but the next decade will be better,” he said.

Kirstie Hubbard from Finglas spoke today of how grateful she was for both the opportunity and for the support she had from everyone involved in the programme.

“They believed in me,” she told TheJournal.ie.

Launch of Career LEAP report 04 Minister of State Michael D'Arcy speaks to some of the participants in the programme, including Kirstie Hubbard, second from the right, who completed work experience with a catering company. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan

She was in the middle of a beauty specialist course – which she will get her diploma in next month – when she joined the programme. The 20-year-old did a work placement with caterers Lolly & Cooks.

“I loved every minute of working there. I was doing cakes, baking. I liked being in the bakery – it was so much fun. I had done cooking all through school and had always loved it.”

 She said it has made her “determined to get a job” and now that she has some commercial kitchen experience, she sees herself wearing a chef’s hat in the future.

“Before this, I didn’t have the confidence, I couldn’t do anything, I struggle to stand up here now,” she told the audience gathered to see participants collect their certificates.

“I went and I did it and I came out with the confidence – and I’m happy.”

Read: Small towns ‘hit hardest’ in the past 10 years, Dublin least affected>

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