On Friday, September 15th, Cork Education and Training Board Youthreach students celebrated their achievements in completing Level 3 and Level 4 Qualifications and Quality Ireland (QQI) awards. These young people have been on a transformative journey over the past few years with the majority progressing to full time education or employment. Martin Cizevskis really enjoyed his time at Dean Street Youthreach Centre and plans to follow his dream of studying art. Olivia O’ Sullivan said “Mallow Youthreach has given me a great opportunity to thrive and opened up new, wider opportunities to college”. Olivia is progressing to study Computer Science at Cork College of FET Douglas Street Campus.
Hafiz Ullah left Afghanistan at 15 years of age in 2020 and made the perilous journey across Iraq and into Europe through Turkey, Greece and Macedonia, eventually arriving in Cork City. He completed his qualifications in Cork City Learning Support Services and will now be a student in Cork College of FET Tramore Road Campus, studying Information Technology.
Cian who received his QQI Level 4 award at Friday’s ceremony was among many students who graduated this year from Youthreach. He started studying at the Glen Youthreach with very little educational background. He thrived in the centre working with staff in both academic and non-academic courses and managed to navigate his 2-year course to achieve full certification. He is presently employed in the construction industry and due to begin his Apprenticeship in December.
The graduation ceremony was a testament to the hard work, dedication, and resilience of the graduating class of 2023, who had completed part of their studies online during the Covid 19 lockdowns. Their families, teachers and gathered to applaud these outstanding young adults for their unwavering commitment to personal growth and academic excellence.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony included an inspiring keynote speech by Amy O’Connor, All-star and All Ireland Winning Captain. Amy gave an impactful speech telling guests how her parents emphasised the importance of education for her. John Fitzgibbons, Director of FET with Cork ETB, told the graduates that yesterday is in the past and tomorrow is their future, and they have the power to determine what happens if they believe in themselves. Denis Leamy, Chief Executive of Cork ETB congratulated all the graduates on their accomplishments and expressed appreciation for the huge support given to them by the staff in Cork ETB Youthreach Centres.
As the graduates embark on the next phase of their journey, Cork ETB remains committed to providing ongoing support and resources to ensure the continued success of their 12 Youthreach centres in providing educational opportunities for young people who are outside of mainstream education.