A partnership between FAS and city housing communities, supported by Kilkenny Co. Council’s RAPID programme, is to create a pilot employment training scheme to take forty young men off the dole.
The new trainees will be based in the two city Family Centres in Newpark Close estate and the Fr. McGrath Centre in the Butts community and will spend the next five months building community allotments as well as improving their labour market skills and helping them progress to further or third level education opportunities.
Sheila Donnelly, manager of Newpark Close Family Centre, pointed out that youth unemployment, especially among young males, is now one of the biggest social problems facing RAPID communities in the city. “Thanks to FAS and the Co. Council we have been given the chance to help some young people come off the dole and work in and for their community,” she said.
“This is an opportunity for these trainees to improve their labour market skills through our FETAC level training and progress on to further third level education opportunities or work.
“Our partnership is trying to get a message to young people and all those who are unemployed – please don’t waste your time sitting at home doing nothing when you can use your time to get involved with your community and use this time to educate and improve yourself and the community you live in,” she said.
Young people living in RAPID housing areas in the city are to be given priority for the new FAS scheme. Twenty will come from the Newpark Close, Hebron, Bishop Birch Place and Millennium and other housing areas in the east of the city and a further twenty will be drawn from the Butts, McAuley Place and other RAPID housing areas in the west of the city.
Co. Council Support.
RAPID Coordinator with Kilkenny County Council, Martina Comerford, welcomed the partnership approach to tackling one of the most serious social problems in the city at present, pointing to the lack of employment or progression opportunities for young people or early school leavers.
“This initiative could not have happened without the foresight shown by FAS in placing this training in the housing communities that have the greatest experience of the problem of youth and adult unemployment.
“Previous experience has taught us that not only do young people benefit from these tailored employment training schemes but their communities benefit from the amenities developed by these young people and the subsequent ownership they show towards the facilities they are involved in developing.’
The Co. Council will also support the Family Centres and the FAS employment agency with some financial support for materials and in providing off site work experience and other training in landscaping and grounds maintenance to young trainees.
Communities to Benefit
As well as doing FETAC level training in communications and IT literacy, trainees will also acquire formal accreditation for the community allotment and public improvement and landscaping works they will take part in as part of their formal training.
Hebron Park, Newpark Close, Newpark Fen, The Breagagh Valley Peoples Park (Butts) and Shandon Park and Leggettsrath housing communities will be some of the city areas that will benefit from their work developing community allotments or improving green space or public areas in their part of the city.
Mary Donnelly, Manager of the FAS pilot community training scheme, said the targeted training will open up further education or labour market training for all trainees who will be helped to develop their own employment progression plan as part of their course.
“This is also giving young and unemployed people a choice between sitting at home and doing nothing or taking a step to shape their own future and improving their own employment or education prospects.
“Most importantly, it is about reminding them that their life is useful and our community values them and needs them to help us make this society a better place for all people, young and old, to live in,” she said.
Anyone interested in finding more information on the community project or the employment training positions can contact Mary in Newpark Close FRC on 056 7723309 or Wendy at the Fr. McGrath Centre on 056 7751988 or by contacting the FAS office in McDonagh Junction or Sheila Donnelly Tel 7723309.