Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Database of labour market practices

This database gathers practices in the field of employment submitted by European countries for the purposes of mutual learning. These practices have proven to be successful in the country concerned, according to its national administration. The European Commission does not have a position on the policies or measures mentioned in the database.

Ireland Youthreach
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Original Title: Youthreach
Country: Ireland
Responsible body: Department of Education and Skills
Name(s) of other organisations involved (partners / sub-contractors): Education and Training Boards manage and deliver the programme in 103 centres.
Start Year of implementation: 1988
End Year of implementation: Ongoing
EU policy relevance:

The programme is in line with EU Employment Guidelines, 2020 targets, and the EU Youth Guarantee with emphasis on support for young people through education and employment, and on early intervention. The programme specifically targets young early school leavers not in employment, education or training. It provides participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to successfully make the transition to work and adult life and to participate fully in their communities.

National labour market context:

The policy measure is directed at young people who are at a distance from the workplace and also have become disengaged from education.  In year one of the two year programme learners are supported in overcoming learning difficulties, developing self-confidence and gaining a range of competencies essential for further learning.  Year two provides for more specific development through a range of educational, training and work experience options.  Learners set personal and educational goals that increase their self-esteem, skill, knowledge base and employability.  Essential course elements include Personal and Social Development, Vocational Skills and Communication Skills.

Policy area: Education and training systems, Prevention of poverty through inclusive labour markets, Social inclusion and anti-discrimination
Specific policy or labour market problem being addressed:

The programme is directed towards early school leavers who are educationally disadvantaged and in some cases socially marginalised, particularly in the case of young Travellers, and aims to keep them from drifting into a cycle of unemployment and deprivation.  Young people can enter directly from school provided that all links with the school have been broken or they may be out of education for some time.  Youthreach Co-ordinators work closely with local schools, Junior Liaison Officers (police) and Education Welfare Officers to ensure that a young person does not spend long out of school before they enter a Youthreach Programme.

Aims and objectives of the policy or measure:

Youthreach seeks to enable young early school leavers to return to education in a non-threatening learner-centred environment.  The objectives for its participants, termed learners, are:

• personal and social development and increased self-esteem

• second-chance education and introductory-level training

• the promotion of independence, personal autonomy, active citizenship, and a pattern of lifelong learning

• progression to further education, training opportunities or the labour market

• the promotion of social inclusion.
Main activities / actions underpinning the policy or measure:

Youthreach offers a flexible full-time programme of integrated general education, vocational training and work experience. It provides the learners with the knowledge, skills and confidence required to participate fully in society and to progress to further education, training, and employment. The programme focuses on the holistic development of the learner. Programmes can differ in centres depending on local need. Guidance and counselling is also an integral part of the programme.  Financial incentives are provided i.e. students 16 and over receive a training allowance. Participants are also entitled to childcare support, and can be eligible for meal, travel and accommodation allowances.

Geographical scope of policy or measure: National
Target groups: People not in education, employment or training (NEETs), Young people (aged 16 to 25 years)
Outputs and outcomes of the policy or measure:

Young people reintegrate into education and progress to further education or training.  Prior to the present economic crisis, many of the young people entered the workforce directly – this is now more difficult due to the high level of youth unemployment. Accreditation can be attained (FETAC levels 3 and 4 minor and major awards–on the Irish Framework) facilitating progression to further education and training.

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