During the New Education Forum (NEF) in LIT Thurles Campus, the FOLM project was officially launched. The event was attended by Polish MEP Ms. Rajewicz, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, Ms. Else Berit Eikeland, and the many Irish stakeholders focused on education.
€4 million programme to encourage Mid West Young People not in Education or Employment back into the Work Place.
The FOLM (From Outdoors to Labour Market) project will teach participants life skills in the wilderness before coaching them on how to access further education and employment. LIT will facilitate the FOLM project in Ireland, with young people from Tipperary, Clare and Limerick to take part in the initial programme.
A €4.075 million outdoor education programme’ designed to encourage young people from Ireland, Poland and Spain to return to studies or the labour market, was launched during NEF (New Education Forum) at LIT, Thurles Campus today (Friday March 1, 2019).
This pioneering project entitled FOLM (From Outdoors to Labour Market) is aimed at Young People Not in Employment, Education or Training aged between 18 and 29 years old, and will be rolled out in the Mid West Region of Ireland in the coming weeks.
Funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants for Youth Employment and co-ordinated by the Center for Innovative Education, Poland, FOLM will be facilitated in Ireland by LIT, with research and monitoring support provided by Universal Learning Systems.
The project will engage 990 NEETs in the Mid-West Region (Ireland), Warmia-Masuria (Poland), and Cantabria (Spain) over the next three years. 330 of those young people will come from Tipperary, Limerick and Clare and engage with the project through LIT.
The outdoor learning model blueprint was designed by the University of Edinburgh, who with the support of the Venture Trust, have implemented the project for more than ten years with positive results.
FOLM will be piloted in Tipperary this year, expanded into Limerick and Clare, and then other regions there after.
LIT is also working in partnership with local development groups and youth services in the Mid West region to identify young people who may benefit from the project.
The participants will then spend a week in the “wilderness”, namely the Knockmealdown Mountains, learning life skills, building resilience and developing a positive mental mind set.
On return from the outdoor learning, the participants will work with a coach who will help them to return to education, training or employment.
Some important messages from the speakers
Seamus Hoyne, Development and Public Engagement Manager LIT and Manager responsible for the FOLM Project in Ireland said, “The FOLM Project uses Outdoor Learning as a means to engage youth with the community. Through the programme participants recognise their talents, strengthen soft skills, build self-esteem and self-awareness, and fortify attitudes for employment. Then the Project Consortium provides job matching through outreach to employers’ organisations, promotion, mentoring and trial employment.
“We at LIT believe this project will be hugely beneficial to young people who may otherwise struggle to access education or employment. It is a project that helps to bring out people’s strengths, allow them to discover their true abilities and find a place in the labour market that meets their needs and that of society in general.”
President of LIT Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “the FOLM programme is a natural fit for LIT, a third level institution that holds inclusivity and access to education among its core values.
“We know from the 2016 Irish Central Statistics Office figures that almost 16% of Irish young people aged between 18 and 24 were not in employment, education or training. In September the CSO figures indicated that almost 23,000 young people under 25 years old were on the Live Register. Approximately 12% of these young people came from the Mid West Region.
“I am therefore pleased that LIT is pioneering this programme in Ireland. By opening up education, training and access to the labour market to more young people we can truly address these live register figures.”
Ambassador Eikeland – Norwegian Ambassador in Ireland (Note: Norway is the main financing country of the project through EEA Grants and Norway Grants)
She is a “Hiking Ambassador” and recognise the incredible value of this project as it strengthens the relationship between the people and the Nature. This relationship is something natural, which is inside each of us. There is nothing to learn, just to re-discover the value to stay outside.
In Norway, the Education system already foresees dedicated time to Outdoor Learning activities; this project will encourage this practices in other EU countries.