2021 ESF case study - Active Communities Network 1

GOALS+ is a project provided by Active Communities Network and is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy. It is aimed at people aged 16 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).


The project offers a package of mentoring, accredited training and support to aid participants on a progression pathway based upon their needs, interests and relevant further training, education or employment opportunities. This includes working with other agencies to develop new training qualifications, curriculum development and volunteering, and work placement programmes to support young people who experience poverty and social deprivation in neighbourhoods.

Participant's story

In this case study, Active Communities Network tells us about one of their clients who had just completed his final year in secondary school and benefitted from participating on the GOALS+ programme:

"The young person first got in contact with Active Communities Network when he came across a social media post advertising our barber training. During induction onto our GOALS+ programme he had stated he had ambitions to become a barber, adding that he had wanted to leave school as he felt he was wasting his time there."

The participant registered onto the GOALS+ programme and was ever present, attending various sessions including mentoring and training to provide him with an opportunity to gain an apprenticeship as a barber.

The Active Communities Network representative continues:

"During one of our mentoring sessions the participant stated he had refused to stay at school. I spoke with him about the importance of education and qualifications and we sourced a two year barber course at a local college. I explained to him that with the additional learning and experience he would gain through the college course in barbering, he would have a broader set of options moving forward and greater opportunities for travel through college."

They discussed his need for a placement or apprenticeship in order to take up the barbering course. Active Communities Network helped the participant source an apprenticeship with a local barber and he was successful in gaining a place at college.

He has now started his apprenticeship and has expressed his thanks for the help he received during his time with the GOALS+ project:

“Thank you to Active Communities Network staff who have supported me in this journey and helped me reach my goals.”

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