Inspiring the Future
By Mary Dennehy
A COMMUNITY-based programme that aims to inspire and motivate young people to realise and achieve their career potential is reaching out to local schools.
Inspiring the Future Ireland is a free programme co-ordinated locally by South Dublin County Partnership and is available exclusively to all schools in the South Dublin County area.
Students who took part in the programme
The programme provides a free and easy way for schools to connect with colleges and volunteers from the world of work.
Volunteers talk informally about their job and their education route, encouraging young people to see the opportunities available.
Many of the volunteers are from South Dublin County and attended local schools, making their contribution more relatable.
Speaking with The Echo, programme co-ordinator Triona Reid said that research shows how engagement from programmes such as Inspiring the Future Ireland while in Education has a number of benefits.
According to Ms Reid, the programme can increase motivation, confidence and attitude to learning, challenge gender and social stereotypes, improve academic attainment at Leaving Certificate and increase young people’s future earning potential.
Some of the free programmes currently running online includes a Career Speed Networking event, where students will have the opportunity to meet with up to five volunteers from the world of work.
Volunteer from Bank of America with students in Collinstown Community College
Students will hear about a volunteer’s day-to-day work, the benefits, challenges and various pathways to this type of employment.
“Students who interact with at least four volunteers at our events have an increased likelihood of engaging with education and training after school or securing employment in an area that interests them”, Ms Reid said.
The programme has also partnered up with TU Dublin’s Access Programme, with a webinar scheduled for March 16.
Ms Reid stressed how TU Dublin’s Access Programmes offer “fantastic, alternative entry routes to college” for early school leavers or those who many not have received the required points through their Leaving Cert.
Triona Reid, programme co-ordinator
Inspiring the Future also offers free access to the Skills2Suceed online employability training platform for local secondary schools.
This platform offers 36 bitesize, interactive modules for secondary school students, helping them to build skills to prepare for the world of work, apply for their first job, create a CV, write a cover letter, prepare for an interview.
Use of this learning platform can be done on any device, including a mobile phone, with learning self-directed.
The programmes are available free to all schools in South Dublin County, with the team working with both primary and secondary schools from fifth class to Leaving Cert.
Students who took part in Inspiring the Future
The programme, which is currently being delivered online, is also issuing a call-out for volunteers.
“Now, more than ever, young people need programmes such as Inspiring the Future Ireland to motivate and energize them for their future”, Ms Reid said.
“Your contribution to young people in need of guidance is invaluable.
“Volunteers from all walks of life and all professions are required.
“We are particularly interested in linking in with volunteers from the local community, those who attended local schools and those who took unconventional paths to their current career.
“We are also interested in hearing from professional trades people such as electricians, plumbers, carpenters etc.”
The Inspiring the Future Ireland team is available to provide support, training and guidance to volunteers, including help with Zoom or online interaction.
The project also works to address the digital divide in education, and during the pandemic donated 60 free Chromebooks to local schools for remote learning, with support from funders Bank of America.
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