Youthreach

Introduction

The purpose of the Youthreach Education programme is to offer young people (15-21years) who are no longer engaged in mainstream education a viable progression route on to further education, training and or employment. 12 Youthreach centres operate under the aegis of Cork Education and Training Board.

There are three main components to the Youthreach Curriculum

  • Academic Certification at QQI3 QQI4 and QQI5.
  • Vocational Preparation Developing awareness and knowledge of career and job expectations and realistically matching them with abilities and skills.
  • Life skills: Developing key skills which enhance the employability options and progression routes for learners.

The Youthreach approach to Education

  • Carries and communicates high expectations.
  • Is learner centered starting from where the learner is at.
  • Tailored approach to each learner, individual key learning plan.
  • Builds on acquired skills, experiences and knowledge.
  • Encourages independent learning and opportunities for skills building.
  • Encourages responsibility for self and awareness of others.
  • Uses a flexible approach.
  • Is enjoyable & experiential; utilizing practical real life experiences and self-reflection.
  • Emphasizes relationship building and the establishment of trust.
  • Works with the learner (as opposed to at or on the learner).
  • Operates to the highest ethical professional moral and legal standards.
  • Offers relevant skills and qualifications equivalent to Ordinary Level Junior Cert and Leaving Certificate.

Operators Guidelines

The Operators Guidelines 2015 identified four phases which enable the student to access the programme, transfer through the process and progress on to identified goals. These phases namely are:

  • Induction, Foundation, Progression and Transition.

The introduction of these phases is determined by the needs presented by the learner.

Embedded within each of these phases are academic, vocational preparation and soft skills/informal education.

The purpose of this exercise is to incorporate the core building blocks of Curriculum Development throughout the 4 Programme phases and in doing so create a broad frame work for programme delivery.

Within the Youthreach Programme each Center delivers a programme based on the local cohort group of learners and the needs which they present with; however it is still possible to mould core curricular elements into a loose sequential and progressive framework.

Approach

Whilst the curriculum is subject to continuous review, change and development, the Youthreach approach is consistent throughout the programme duration.

This approach utilises multiple methodologies and adopts best practice from other disciplines such as Youth work/informal education, Vocational Training, Adult Education and programmes such as Restorative Practice.

The Youthreach approach:

  • Is learner centered starting from where the learner is at.
  • Builds on acquired skills, experiences and knowledge.
  • Encourages independent learning and opportunities for skills building.
  • Encourages responsibility for self and awareness of others.
  • Uses a flexible approach.
  • Is enjoyable & experiential; utilizing practical real life experiences and self-reflection.
  • Emphasizes relationship building and the establishment of trust.
  • Structures both short term and long term goals.
  • Carries and communicates high expectations.
  • Encourages independent learning.
  • Works with the learner (as opposed to at or on the learner).
  • Operates to the highest ethical professional moral and legal standards.

This approach reflects the core criteria of a Quality Curriculum as identified by the Operators Guidelines, which means the curriculum:

  1. Should be relevant to the culture of the learner, to the range of intelligences that learners display, to the present and to the future lives of the learners.
  2. Should be challenging, in terms of setting high academic and vocational standards, of real-life applications and of personal ambitions.
  3. Should be imaginative, fostering the creative and expressive qualities of the learners and a sense of wonder, of fantasy and imagination.

Learning Outcomes

A. Soft Skills
B. Vocational Preparation and
C. Academic Certification

The Concise Oxford Dictionary (tenth edition, 2001) defines ‘outcome’ as, “a consequence”, which in turn is defined as “a result or effect”.

An internet search of the term ‘outcome’ reveals that it is used in a vast array of circumstances, situations and fields of work to connect, in a more definite sense, the relationship between what has taken place before and what has changed as a direct or indirect consequence of an action or set of actions carried out as part of a programme.

The Youthreach Programme core outcome is to equip the learner with real life skills and knowledge to prepare them for the world of work, education and or training and to ensure they can take leave their mark as young engaging citizens in the local community and beyond.

Thus, Learning Outcomes in the Youthreach Curriculum are focused on not just the academic, but equally on vocational and soft skills development.

Learning outcomes are interspersed through all phases of the programme; each of them will be given different emphasis depending on the stage the learner is at.

Centres for Youth – Cork City Learning Support Service

Operating as part of the “Youthreach Family”, Cork City Learning Support Services caters for students 12-18 years and has a capacity for 60-70 students. This service is an extension of the Youthreach Programmes and its purpose is to increase the participation in learning by young people identified as the least successful participants in their cohort of learning. Following participation on the programme, the aim is to facilitate:

  • their integration into full-time schooling; or
  • their continuation with the support service; or
  • their referral to alternative services as appropriate.

Courses include a Pre-Junior Certificate course; Junior Certificate FETAC level 1, Safe Pass, Independent Living Skills etc.

For further information please see here.

Cork ETB also works in partnership with a number of agencies which offer a variety of services for young people to provide them with access to education or to assist in their rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addictions, in both Residential and Day Centres in Cork City & County. Further information on these services is available here.

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