WIT announces a project to help youth workers empower young people

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has announced a research project for youth workers to help them empower the young people that they work with.

Many people who work in education or training, whether in schools, the workplace or the community, wish they could better help their students or clients to live up to their full potential. Sometimes trainers need some extra training themselves.

WIT, along with the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Men s Development Network, and the Centre for Health Behaviour Research is working on a research project exploring the impact of the Facilitation Skills for Health and Wellbeing training on youth workers and their organisations across eight organisations nationwide.

This project is jointly funded by the National Office for Suicide Preventions and Health Promotion and Improvement, Health and Wellbeing Division within the HSE.

Training in the areas of soft skill development such as communication, interpersonal skills and leadership is essential when working with young people. These skills are fundamental in developing rapport and trust which ultimately enables the work to happen with young people, said Dr Paula Carroll, one of the research project supervisors and lecturer with the Department of Health Sport and Exercise Science at WIT.

The training model is supportive on a number of levels. Youth workers attend with a colleague from their centre, training is also offered to managers and the whole staff so that the learnings can be integrated into practice within the organisation.


WIT s new MA in Advanced Facilitation Skills for Promoting Health and Well Being

The training is founded on elements of WIT s new MA in Advanced Facilitation Skills for Promoting Health and Well Being which is being offered this September. These skills are in high demand amongst front line service providers and management.

Over the years WIT has trained highly regarded community, social and youth workers, teachers, and those working with marginalised or vulnerable groups, as well as health professionals and management staff.

The current training and research project with youth workers builds upon the findings of previous research, and those involved say that it is the most effective training model to date.

The focus of the training is based on facilitation skills carried out through group work and personal development that reflects how youth workers can interact and work with young people. We re finding that this specialised training helps youth workers accept and understand that everyone is coming from a different place and difficulties completely vary from person to person, explained Dr Carroll.

Youth workers are learning on many levels as a result of this training and these learnings have begun to be integrated into their practice which they believe will benefit the young people with whom they work.

Anne Sexton

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