A Different Pathway Through Second Level Education in Ireland
Youthreach provides early school leavers aged 15-20, with opportunities to acquire certification through QQI accredited courses. Co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020, it focuses on the holistic development of the individual within a learning environment which is structured, challenging, student-centred and participant-led. Students receive an allowance each week depending on age, along with a transport and meal allowance. The curriculum is varied, (academic and non-academic subjects), and integrated across modules. Students increase their self-esteem while achieving certification allowing progression into work, college and/or apprenticeships The social development of students is as important as the academic achievements. The following are testimonials from students who chose a different pathway through second level education in Ireland; a turning point in their educational journey, along with some information on programmes available from three of our eleven centres.
As a former student of Youthreach Rush, I felt I wanted to contribute to this article to let others see how this decision changed my life for the better. I was a very shy quiet guy who just did not feel the traditional Irish school system suited me. I knew I wanted an education, but could not see how I would achieve this in secondary school. I heard about Youthreach by chance and decided to pop in and talk to the Coordinator. It was the start of an amazing positive journey for me. I enjoyed the teaching styles, the subjects and the centre. I felt it was like a family; extremely supportive, listened, but strict when they needed to be and always respectful and caring. I completed a QQI Level 4 in General Education and a QQI Level 5 Business and Office Administration. I did work experience and was well prepared for interviews and heading into the world of work. I went on to work in Dublin Airport and then worked in Spec Savers in Swords. Specsavers believe that the passion and accountability that comes with a shared ownership model is more inclusive and motivating. This is evident when employees that start out at entry level, can work their way to being entrepreneurs and, ultimately, owning their own store. This company’s ethos and their amazing training programme allowed me to become one of the four founders of Spec Savers in Liffey Valley. I am the Retail Director and my journey to today started in Christine’s office in Rush Youthreach. I am Conor and I would like to say thank you Youthreach.