2021 ESF case study - Active Communities Network 2

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 benefitted from participating on the GOALS+ programme:

"This young person engaged with Active Communities Network over several weeks through referral to our GOALS+ programme, where he availed of one to one mentoring sessions. This resulted in an action plan being put together whereby he undertook intense barbering training and elements of personal and social development. He also focussed on employability skills in order to address identified issues and barriers to his own development, taking into consideration his emotional well-being."

The participant had been interested in a career in sport but through injury and other factors he disengaged, became disillusioned, and showed signs of apathy in general. Speaking openly and honestly, it was some decisions and other affiliations that were responsible for his frame of mind, but he refocussed and got himself firmly back on track.

The Active Communities Network representative continues:

"His passion for barbering was very strong and this was evident over the full two days of practical training. He was always on time and was quick to carry out demonstrations under the supervision and guidance of the tutor. He thoroughly enjoyed his experience on the project and finished with a CV and the knowledge of how to create a cover letter to accompany a job application."

"In his short period of engagement, the participant showed a new level of maturity and illustrated a willingness to create and find a positive pathway for himself and others. We spoke about employment opportunities on our mentor sessions and on the final day of the programme he reported that he had been successful in finding employment."

The participant wanted employment to offer some stability, but has said he will continue to practise and develop his barbering skills and would be likely to return to the trade at some point in the future.

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