The ever-evolving role of youth workers in communities across Cork city and county was singled out as being ‘vital, life-affirming and life-changing’ at a novel training and wellbeing event designed to upskill those involved at the front-line in helping young people to realise their potential.
The Youthwork Service unit of Cork Education & Training Board (Cork ETB) organised a wellbeing and training event in the iconic surroundings of Spike Island for workers and managers of projects and services supporting young people in rural and urban areas of Cork.
Workers from various organisations, including Foroige, Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service, YMCA, Cork Simon, Good Shepherd Cork and several others, participated in workshops and talks about developments and opportunities within the sector.
“We must never undervalue the work that goes in youth settings given the vital, life-changing impacts it has had in recent years; young people who benefit from out of school supports will remember those inputs for years to come,” Cork ETB Chief Executive Denis Leamy said to youth workers at the day-long event.
“We know that the education system does not suit everyone and so it’s important that the youthwork space opens-up for that cohort of young people. Our thanks go to all those workers who have supported our young people through difficult times up to now and we look forward to that continuing support long into the future.”
“The Spike Island training and wellbeing day was also a reward for those professionals who are working so hard with young people to help them navigate the many hurdles they face in everyday life to reach their potential and who may be blocked from doing so by a variety of circumstances,” explained one of the organisers, Mick Finn, Cork ETB Youth Service Development Officer.
“We put on STEM and co-operative games workshops, giving the participants kits to bring away and use with the young people who attend their projects or clubs. We also had speakers on the Gaisce Awards, the Cork Local Creative Youth Partnership as well as a presentation for the Sexual Health Centre about the changing needs and perspectives of young people and how workers can upskill to handle emerging issues.”
Cork ETB funds staffed youth projects via the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), as well as volunteer-led clubs and provide developmental opportunities for the sector. Youthwork Service section also tries to ensure that young people (10-24) in marginalised situations (those in homeless accommodation, Travellers, those with addiction issues and those in migrant settings) have access to support.
“We were delighted to announce also that we are planning our second Seó Youth Festival for May of next year where the fantastic work that goes on in all these projects, from Castletownbere to Mitchelstown, can be showcased for the Cork public. It is the only such festival of its kind in the country and we had a brilliant reaction to the 2022 event at the Marina Market,” a spokesperson said.
For further information on Cork Education and Training Board and their wide range of schools, courses, and opportunities from Primary, through Post-Primary, to Further Education, see www.corketb.ie or see Cork Education and Training Board or CorkETB online.