Although Ireland has reached near full employment, challenges remain for employers and vulnerable young people in our society. The gap between both groups is widening, making the unemployment of young people who are distant from the labour market a critical social issue in Ireland.
The Work To Learn programme which was officially launched by Minister of State David Stanton brings business, government and non-profit organisations together to give socially excluded young people paid work-experience opportunities that result in improved orientation towards education, increased perseverance, confidence and work readiness.
Work to Learn is a work experience programme for young people who have struggled in mainstream education and who are at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. The programme employs a youth work approach to support marginalised young people in developing self-esteem, finding pathways to work and strengthening their engagement in mainstream education. Due to its success the programme is now being extended to a number of new sites. The programme exposes participants to the world of work and the skills required to operate effectively in it, through a structured and supported process involving preparation, placement and reflection. The programme challenges the young person involved to undertake a paid part-time job with all the responsibilities that that entails.