Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16% of the global population. The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies, and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration. However, young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and are continuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labour market inequalities, and longer, more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts.
Through Campus Engage the Irish higher education institutes are committed to the development of youth skills through initiatives across student volunteering and community based learning and teaching.
To mark World Youth Skills Day 2019 we have collected some stories from around the country, highlighting the ongoing effort among young Irish people
UCDVO Volunteering and Development Education Programme – UCD
UCD Volunteers Overseas run a year-long Volunteering and Development Education Programme for students, staff and alumni of UCD. The programme includes development education sessions around visual literacy & ethical communication, building intercultural awareness and events like the UCDVO Film Series and the UCDVO Annual Forum. The programme also includes 4 weeks volunteering overseas with a local partner in India, Tanzania and Uganda.
Annie Marshall took part in UCDVO Programme in 2017/18 and was one of 14 volunteers who taught ICT Skills to school teachers in 2 schools in Morogoro, Tanzania.
“UCDVO is longer than the year-long programme you hear about at the freshers’ stand. It challenges your assumptions and perceptions of the planet we’re living on and forces you to look at the impact you could have on the world and its inhabitants.”
Applications for the 2019/2020 Programme open September 23rd. Team Coordinator positions are open to applicants external to UCD.
Made2Move – UCC
Gillian O Sullivan and Dr.Fiona Chambers run a physical activity initiative called Made2Move in UCC that pairs physically active students with physically inactive students to positively impact their overall health and wellbeing.
Through this community engagement initiative physically active ‘MoveMentors’ motivate and encourage the physically inactive ‘MoveMentees’ to become more active. Mentors learn the skills necessary to motivate others through physical activity instruction.
As one participant notes –
“I found working with my MoveMentee a challenge as she is visually impaired, and anxious and nervous about going to the gym. However, she was very eager to become more physically active and was willing to try new fitness classes and activities. I created a programme for her based on what she liked to do and what she could manage on a consistent basis. I learned how to motivate and support someone who had many obstacles and work around her ability. I tried to create a programme which challenged her but also increased her confidence for physical activity. I learned how to adapt to her needs but still help her achieve the goal of reaching 150 minutes of physical activity a week. The programme was really enjoyable and it was fantastic to see the improvement with my MoveMentee.’
“At the start, my MoveMentee always took the lift. I encouraged her to start taking the stairs. By the end of the programme, she took the stairs at every opportunity”
Developing a Junior Scientist Badge – TU Dublin
Staff at Technological University Dublin created a Junior Scientist badge in collaboration with Core Youth Service in Inchicore, designed for young people aged 8-12 with an interest in science. Second Year science students from TU Dublin are involved in this community-based learning activity which was launched in 2016 with the assistance of the DIT Widening Participation Annual Fund.
TU Dublin students travelled to the Core Youth Service facilities for two sessions and to finish the programme the Junior Scientists visited TU Dublin to give them an experience of science within higher education. Each session involved interactive hands-on activities and related recording of their findings and observations.
The university students develop communication, leadership, interpersonal and problem-solving skills while teaching children about science. The initiative gives schoolchildren an opportunity to learn more about science, build on their curiosity, and to potentially view higher education as an achievable goal through their interaction with TU Dublin students.
Community youth workers involved in the project said it was well received by the schoolchildren: ‘The programme was well designed and interesting. The TU Dublin students interacted very well on the young people’s level, engaging them in the activities and keeping them interested.’ – Breda Murphy.
Community Knowledge Initiative – NUIG
The Community Knowledge Initiative Module creates projects with an aim to foster an awareness of the benefits that this student group can bring to the community while developing personal and academic skills. The student-driven projects allow them to take control of their own learning and to develop imaginative ways of bringing their learning to the community.
Aoife O’Shaughnessy a second year biomedical science student reflects on her participation in the module,
“The project furthered my understanding of how to work effectively as a team. When my team applied our new communication and cooperation skills to our project, we were able to handle every issue that arose without a problem. This module helped me with my public speaking skills, the group presentations were a totally different experience to presenting on my own and were a key learning experience for me during this project.”
Through CKI Aoife also worked with community partner ChildVision, the only place in Ireland totally dedicated to the education and therapy needs of blind and multi-disabled children.
Working with Childvision developed the volunteer’s communication skills and professional skills and “totally opened our eyes to the incredible work they do”.
Dr Derek Morris from NUIG says “It’s humbling to see the work that our partners do, often with very limited resources, and it’s a great learning experience for our students as they give something back to the community.”