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Training project to boost youth prospects in south Down

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291116PF0072webA County Down training project has outlined plans to help boost employability and turn around young lives in Kilkeel and surrounding areas.

Launched with £80,550 from the International Fund for Ireland, the ‘Fair Fa’ Ye To The Future’ Media Youth Project – ‘Welcome to the Future’ in Ulster-Scots – is led by the Schomberg Society, Kilkeel and will support young people aged 16-25 to explore cultural identity, personal development, good relations, skills and employment opportunities.

The 12-month cross-community project will engage 20 young people in a range of training related to culture, media, tourism and arts with the aim of improving employment prospects, connecting them with the wider community and supporting better decision making.

Dr Adrian Johnston, International Fund for Ireland Chairman, welcomed the project:
“Fair Fa’ Ye To The Future offers positive engagement that can make a real difference and provide positive alternatives for those involved. It will open new pathways to learning, training and employment and will help turn young lives around.This project is about helping people to reassess their prospects and take active steps to improve their lives and their community.

“The reality is that there are growing issues of disaffection among young people in many areas across Northern Ireland and that increases the risk of being drawn into issues like drugs, anti-social behaviour and division. Projects like this are critical and build momentum for change, stability and prosperity.”

Roberta Heaney, Fair Fa’ Ye To The Future Project Coordinator said:
“This project is about identifying the needs of young people in the area and will equip, resource and empower them to make positive life choices. The project will establish a range of practical personal development courses, with a focus on cultural identity, media, good relations, health and well-being, community development, life skills, confidence building and teamwork. We will also provide focused training around contentious and non-contentious issues that affect the daily lives of young people.

“We want to encourage and challenge people to raise expectations for themselves and their role within the community.”

The Schomberg Society has been supported previously by the International Fund for Ireland and in October 2014 it implemented a successful 18-month project that enabled more than 200 young people to explore their cultural identity and improve their personal development and employability skills. That project laid the foundations for the current Fair Fa’ Ye To The Futureproject.