2021 ESF case study - Workforce Training Services

Get Connected is a programme provided by Workforce Training Services that targets young people aged 16 to 24, Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) who would like to enhance their employment opportunities. The project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant's story

Workforce tells us about a participant who joined the Get Connected programme and how she benefitted from the support and guidance which was provided.

The participant’s Mentor on the programme tells her story:

"This young person left school at the end of 5th year having missed out on most of the year due to COVID. She initially joined the Get Connected Programme as she was unsure of what direction she wanted to go: whether to join a training programme in hairdressing, or return to school. She also wanted help getting a summer job.

Being out of school for a long period of time left her feeling unconfident with low motivation, and lacking interaction and engagement skills.

The Mentor continues:

"I carried out some employability and skills work with her. The participant had a CV drawn up and partook in job search activities, applying for a few retail jobs. We identified that she is a keen, strong swimmer and enjoys a sporting life, so made sure to look out for related jobs."

A training academy for an NPLQ (National Pool Lifeguard Qualification) was being run in conjunction with the GL City Council programme and Workforce, so she decided to apply. As this is an internationally recognised qualification, it could lead to employment as a Lifeguard or Recreation Assistant.

It was an intensive 2-week programme, with several tests and some work experience included.

Her mentor says,

"The participant had to pass a swim test before being allocated a place on the training academy. The test was at 6.45 am, which was a challenging time to attend but she did and passed the test. Her motivation and confidence were a big obstacle, but her resilience and the work we did on improving these really gave her the boost she needed.

"The training was long hours and very early starts which can be a big test for young people especially given their age and coming through a global pandemic with no school routine!’"

With lots of support and encouragement the participant successfully completed the intense programme and was given an interview with a GL Leisure Centre. 

The Mentor explains:

"We did lots of preparation for this including researching possible questions, interview techniques, mock interviews etc.

"She was contacted by the GL Leisure Centre and was offered a part-time job.

"Whilst doing this training academy, she also took part in the Get Connected Summer programme and participated in Job Sampling, as well as the activities. She completed the Personal Development and Employability qualifications."

When asked what she thought of the job a few months later she said,

“An ideal job that matches both my skills set and my interests. I love my job, it’s so different from the jobs my friends are getting. From next week I will be allowed to work poolside without another member of staff with me!  Might just go and work in a resort in Spain as a lifeguard when I’m old enough!”

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