Minister for Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe has launched a research report on a Trinity led development programme called ‘Career LEAP’. The report was launched at an event in Croke Park on Thursday, November 9. ‘Career LEAP’ is a programme that aims to help at-risk 20-24 year olds in Dublin’s North inner city to enter employment.
At the event, Minister Donohoe expressed his admiration for the project, stating: “ The Career Leap programme provides a valuable route into the rewarding and fulfilling world of employment as well as education. I am delighted to be able to announce that it will now be rolled out as an integrated youth development and employability programme by the Taoiseach’s Task Force in the North Inner City in 2018.”
The programme was led by Professor Carmel O’Sullivan from Trinity College Dublin. It was run in conjunction with East Wall Youth, Swan Youth Service, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) and was supported by 25 businesses in the area. Many of these businesses funded the programme alongside the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Speaking to Trinity News, O’Sullivan said : “As a short and quite intensive work-readiness programme (6 weeks), Career LEAP offers an integrated approach, where the training components are designed to transfer the learning directly into the workplace during placement. Training is provided to all participating partners: the young adults, business mentors, and community and youth workers who support the young adults in transitioning to the workplace.”
The programme is expected to be rolled out on a national level in 2018 by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board to provide opportunities for young people who face severe challenges in accessing training, education and and employment opportunities. O’ Sullivan hopes that ” Career LEAP is available to more of the young people in the north east inner city and also to those who need additional levels of support throughout Dublin and the country. There is also interest internationally in the work. As a tried and tested model, I am delighted that it is being considered for roll out as part of the Taoiseach’s North East Inner City Task Force in 2018/19.”
The research report has found that 90% of participants found work within 3 months of completing the programme and have also remained in employment in the 15 months since its completion. It also found that of 6 homeless participants, only 2 of these remain on the streets, despite being employed or in education.
The study also stated that the programme excels in developing social and personal skills among its youth participants, where other international studies have failed in doing so. Over 70% of participants reported this increase in confidence and career competency following the programme.
The programme provides an unpaid work placement, a 10 module handbook and various handbooks and resources to its participants. The report outlines the effectiveness of these resources and states that it will work to roll them out regionally and nationally in the future.
Minister Donohoe met with the newest group of participants to complete the programme. The group of 14 young people completed the programme in October and four of the members of the group have already secured employment. The Minister presented these young people with certificates following the launch of the research report. Donohoe also awarded community workers and mentors from the participating businesses with CPD (Continuing Professional Development) certificates following their training in the programme.
Trinity’s Vice Provost, Professor Chris Morash has also praised the programme stating: “Career LEAP starts with the recognition that being prepared to work is no longer enough. Young adults, often lack the social skills, higher order thinking skills, and self-management skills necessary for the workplace. The Career LEAP programme is designed to combat these career development and employability problems, with a focus on unemployed young adults who may lack work experience and educational qualifications”.