2021 ESF case study - Derry Youth and Community Workshop - Learning North West (Engage)

Most people living with a learning disability experience multiple barriers when making the transition into employment. Many are treated as ‘different’ and face huge challenges and prejudice on a daily basis. The Learning North West (Engage) project has been designed to contribute to addressing these issues and aims to identify, engage and mentor participants with learning disabilities who are experiencing these barriers.

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

In this case study, Derry Youth and Community Workshop tells us about one of their clients who benefitted from participating on the Engage programme:

"The participant in this case study first heard of our programme through Student Support Services at the local Technical College and he attended an interview to find out more. Although he had already completed a Level 2 qualification, he had not achieved the qualifications required to progress to Level 3. We discussed options with him and agreed on classes in Numeracy and Literacy and looking at job sampling.

"As our client joined the programme during the Covid 19 pandemic, restrictions were in place with regards to how we worked. Initial assessments and diagnostics were carried out online for Essential Skills (ES), but he met with his mentor one to one to discuss and organise job sampling opportunities. Our client got an opportunity to do job sampling within retail. During this time most businesses were still closed so he was an essential worker. He tried classes online for ES but found this very difficult, so he opted to resume classes when face to face teaching took place."

Growing in confidence

The Derry Youth and Community Workshop representative continutes:

"When our client started the programme he had no experience of working and was unsure of the path he wanted to take. His confidence levels were low and he wanted a purpose in life. Over the coming months he grew in confidence and enjoyed the experience he was getting. He started classes for ES and realised this was something he could achieve.

A second opportunity arose for job sampling within a different vocational area and the client completed two weeks sampling before starting full time work.

He continues to work on ES Literacy and Numeracy and is delighted with what he has achieved, telling us,

“It’s great working there, I’m so busy all the time and everyone is so supportive”.

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