2021 ESF case study - Include Youth - Give and Take 2

Give and Take, delivered by Include Youth, aims to improve the employability skills and self-esteem of young people aged 16 to 24 who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), who face complex barriers to engagement, and who come from communities of greatest disadvantage. This programme assists young people in progressing into education, employment and/or training.

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

In this case study Include Youth tells the story of a participant who joined Give and Take (Start) during the Covid-19 pandemic, having been made redundant and keen to avail of support to gain alternative employment.

Participant's story 

The participant spoke about poor mental health because of social isolation and not being able to see family and friends. A key aspect of their individual action plan was a focus on personal development and adopting a positive mental attitude as they look towards the future. Taking into consideration, Covid and the associated restrictions, an online programme to support the participant’s needs was agreed.

Personal development

Initially, personal development sessions centred on meditation, havening approaches (an alternative therapy) and affirmations. With the emphasis on personal development, the focus was around the participant being able to identify their skills and qualities, and identifying the skills and qualities they needed in key areas of their life. 

As the need for online sessions dissipated and more face to face opportunities arose, the participant had increased confidence and self-belief, and began exploring what was required to enable them to work in a barber's, something they were keen to do. As the participant had completed a short course in barbering, they were aware this was considered close contact service, and no progress could be made until that sector reopened. 

Gaining employment

The participant secured a voluntary role with a local barber, which helped increase knowledge of the role as well as the importance of health and safety from a Covid perspective, and the opportunity to increase skills and confidence. When close contact services reopened, he successfully gained employment as a trainee barber.

The participant said;

“Give and Take gave me the chance to talk through some issues I had, the staff made me feel comfortable and reassured me that I wasn’t alone with my thoughts. I got to recognize skills that I didn’t know I had, and feel more connected to people in a time when I felt really lonely”.


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