Employability Preparation

Helping young people STEP into success

The City of Dublin YMCA offers a number of services to the local community, including childcare, support for homeless people, and youth work. One of the organization’s youth programs is STEP - a pre-vocational training program for young adults who are both educationally disadvantaged and long-term unemployed. These young people have taken the positive step of re-engaging with their education, but are often hindered by poor qualifications and a lack of self-confidence.

For the 2014 Global Day of Giving XL Catlin’s Dublin office spent the day working at the YMCA, improving the facilities and working directly with the young people.

The volunteer team began by painting the Childcare Centre, Sports Hall & STEP rooms, making an immediate impact on the young people’s learning by giving them a space they could be proud of and look forward to using each day. The team then spent the remainder of the day assisting on the STEP program; delivering workshops on building a CV and developing effective interview skills, as well as mentoring the STEP participants.

“We really wanted to ensure we added value and made a real difference through the Global Day of Giving project,” says Project Leader Eamonn McEntee, who coordinated the day.

“I think we were able to bring a friendly face that represented people in authority; people who had office jobs; possibly people who were managers,” adds one of the volunteers. “In many of our conversations we found ourselves reminding the participants that the people who will sit across the table from them at interviews are just regular people, that the job of an interviewee is to prepare answers that describe what ‘positive’ things they can bring to a job – and that they bring many positive things.”

The volunteer team found the experience humbling and inspiring. “Even though the participants had challenging backgrounds, everyone wanted to make something better for themselves, they had vision, although simultaneously little self-belief,” adds another volunteer. “Overall it was a very powerful reminder that we need to be more aware of those who did not get the lucky breaks we got.”

Since the Global Day of Giving project, the volunteer team have delivered a follow-up mentoring workshop with 10 of the STEP trainees, consisting of group and one-to-one discussions, and intend to continue supporting the great work achieved through the STEP program.

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