Getting in the dole queue, addressing external issues such as mental health, using real work scenarios and creating an environment different from school
Pobal launches research into good practice for engaging disadvantaged young people
Monday 23rd October 2017: Getting in the dole queue, addressing external issues such as mental health, using real work scenarios and creating an environment different from school are just some of the recommendations for engaging disadvantaged young people in a report launched today by Pobal, the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Social Fund in Ireland.
The research*, conducted by Quality Matters, looked at good practice for working with young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP).
The Youth Employment Initiative was launched in 2013 to provide targeted supports to young people aged below 25 and living in regions where youth unemployment was higher than 25% in 2012. The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) is co-funded under the European Social Fund (ESF) Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) up to 2020, with a special allocation under the Youth Employment Initiative. I am delighted with the progress the programme has made in targeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable young people in particular those not in education employment or training, guiding them onto an effective pathway towards employment by providing a series of activities locally delivered. We can see the difference the EU funding is making to the lives of these young people through supports provided by SICAP.
Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development
Young people not in employment, education or training who are currently supported by SICAP are between the ages of 15-24, with six out of ten male and four in five educated to a Leaving Certificate level or lower. Despite a drop in the unemployment figures, youth unemployment continues to be a significant issue in Ireland and across the EU. This research, which is the first of its kind, will be a valuable tool for both Ireland and abroad to identify what works when dealing with this cohort of the population.
Denis Leamy, Pobal CEO
A total of 19 good practice recommendations emerged from the research under the headings of engaging young people, working with young people, partnership working, and organisational development.
The research found the most effective ways to engage young people was getting in the dole queue and meeting young people where they gather or spend time, bringing young people to the programme or bringing the service to them where transport was an issue, and providing short taster courses as clear pathways into other longer term programmes. Interestingly, social media was found to be better at keeping people on board rather than engaging them initially. For example, using WhatsApp to keep in touch with young people and support each other once they had attended a group, was more effective than using social media as a method of raising awareness of the programme at the start.
One in five young people interviewed through the research described suffering from recent anxiety or depression, while 16 participants reported suffering from emotional distress as a result of recent unemployment. Addressing issues related to housing, health, mental health, substance abuse, childcare and family difficulties was found to be essential to ensuring young people could continue to engage and progress in education and employment.
Many of the young people surveyed had negative experiences of schools so ensuring community education and workplace training is clearly differentiated from the school environment was found to be important, for example action based learning or using real work scenarios for training. Follow-up was also found to be key in ensuring young people do not fall through the cracks.
The research was funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning PEIL (2014 – 2020)
Kickboxing Kindness an Going the Extra Mile – Summary Report
Note to Editor
Pobal is a not-for-profit company that manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU.
*The research entitled ‘Kickboxing, kindness and going the extra mile: good practice in working with NEETs under SICAP’ spoke with 95 stakeholders including young people (aged 15 – 24 years) who have participated in SICAP, programme implementers’ staff and partner organisations.
Michelle Tritschler, Pobal Corporate Communications Manager, 01 5117725 /086 3846630