Inspiring the future at Collinstown Park Community College

Inspiring the Future was launched in Ireland this week by South Dublin County Partnership with support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Google.

The inaugural Inspiring the Future Ireland ‘Career Speed Networking’ event took place in Collinstown Park Community College in Clondalkin, the first school in Ireland to avail of this new initiative.

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Volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Google and Takeda Pharmaceutical were present at the event.

Inspiring the Future is a free and easy way for thousands of schools and volunteers from the world of work to connect.

The project aims to address the greatest barriers to young people, particularly the most disadvantaged, to securing successful and fulfilling lives and careers.

According to the OECD Report, ‘Society at a Glance 2016’, the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) in Ireland stands at 19.7%. 

Inspiring the Future aims to address this by exposing young people to the world of work through career speed networking sessions, careers fairs, CV workshops, mock interviews, work experience placements and one-to-one mentoring.

Research by the charity Education and Employers shows that a young person who has four or more encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be NEET, and can earn up to 18% more during their career. 

Inspiring the Future was launched in the United Kingdom by the charity Education and Employers in 2012 and to date; more than 1 million connections have taken place.

Today, almost 80% of state schools across the UK have registered, together with over 38,000 volunteers from over 8,000 organisations.

The programme recognises key youth challenges including youth alienation, unemployment, skills mismatch, gender stereotyping and poor pupil motivation.

It was developed following extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders – employers, education, government, third sector and intermediaries.

Since the launch, interest in the programme has come from over 35 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, China, the UAE and the US and Uganda.

Speaking at the launch, An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, said: “I want to congratulate Principal, Ms Pauline Duffy and the staff of Collinstown Park Community College for introducing this important programme to the school curriculum.

My focus as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation is to ensure that we continue to create an environment in which business can succeed and create jobs, including those for our young people.”.

Larry O’ Neill, CEO, South Dublin County Partnership, said:  “The best way to tackle social exclusion and poverty is work. We want it to become commonplace that young people wherever they live and whatever their social background, get the chance to meet a wide range of people from various career sectors and different jobs.

“Inspiring the Future Ireland is about opening up a world of options and awakening in our young people the ambition to work and have a rewarding career. It’s about encouraging them to continue their education and training in pursuit of that ambition.”

Following the launch event Inspiring the Future Ireland will be available to schools in the South Dublin County region and the project will expand nationwide if the pilot initiative proves successful.

The ambition is to have 20-30 schools sign up within the first year. South Dublin County Partnership is seeking to recruit 600 volunteers to pledge just one hour a year to volunteer in a secondary school near where they live or work to talk to young people about their job and career route.

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