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IFI Board member Paddy Harte pictured with Stacey Carr-Kennedy, Donegal, Amy O'Hara, Tubercurry, Alice Smith, Sligo and Shannon Connolly, Cavan at “Own your Own Future”, a special careers workshop held in Lough Rynn Castle, Co Leitrim.

Young Women Encouraged to Own their Future

Published on:  07 Feb 2019

Over 50 young women aged 16 -25 from the border counties of Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo gathered at Lough Rynn Castle in Mohill, Co Leitrim for a special workshop designed to encourage them to consider business ventures  as possible future career opportunities.

The “Own Your Own Future” workshop, which was organised by Bridget Kilrane of the New Beginnings PYDP project in conjunction with the other PYDP projects in the Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan area, brought together participants in eight projects that are funded through the International Fund for Ireland’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP).  The Programme aims to help young people build and develop life skills that foster good relations, build confidence and resilience and make them more employable. 

Participants sampled bite-size sessions of what a career could look like across a wide range of disciplines including beauty therapy, childcare, fashion design, hairdressing and health and fitness. Award-winning hat designer and Leitrim native, Jennifer Wrynne was one of a number of female entrepreneurs present who shared their experiences, offering advice and encouragement to the participants.

Speaking at the event, which was organised by the PYDP projects in Cavan, Leitrim and Sligo, Mr Paddy Harte Board Member, International Fund for Ireland said, “In some communities, there is disillusionment and a sense that traditional youth efforts are not effective in engaging with young people or the complex and polarising issues that they face.  Our PYDP programme is designed for those people who feel let down or left behind.

“Today’s workshop is designed to show young women the diverse range of employment opportunities that exist within their own counties, including within the digital economy, and to help give them confidence and self-belief and, most of all, to inspire them to reach their true potential.”

In the last year, the Fund has approved funding of €7m in PYDP projects across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.  The PYDP seeks to engage young people who face barriers to participation in mainstream provision and are vulnerable to polarisation/recruitment to organisations opposed to the peace process. They will also have typically faced a range of complex issues including; substance abuse, homelessness, difficult family backgrounds, been in or close to criminal justice system, suffer from poor mental health issues and have not participated in society in a positive manner.

In the past year 1,158 young people have taken part, with 431 progressing to education and training, receiving a combined 1,675 accreditations, with 153 securing employment.

Paddy Harte, Board Member, said “Through their participation in PYDP projects these young women have been working towards improving their educational and employment options. Today was an opportunity for them to explore potential career and entrepreneurial choices with women who have tread those study and work paths before them and to hear about their experiences first hand.”

“Today’s event was the first of what hope will be many cluster workshops, bringing young people participating in PYDP projects together with people employed in diverse sectors to inspire and encourage them in their lives and future careers,” he added.

For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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