United Youth, a key commitment in the Northern Ireland Executive’s ‘Together: Building a United Community’ Strategy, is a programme that aims to provide flexible, high-quality, young-person-centred opportunities for young people who are not in education, employment or training.

United Youth pilot phase

Following an extensive co-design process involving young people and other key stakeholders, 12 United Youth pilots ran across Northern Ireland from August 2015 to March 2016.

Some 350 16–24 year olds took part in a range of activities designed to develop their capabilities across four key outcome areas – good relations, citizenship, personal development and employability. The purpose of the pilot phase was to test a range of approaches to achieving sustainable positive change with the target group, with a view to developing a service design framework for the United Youth Programme post 2015/16.

Evaluation of pilot phase

An independent external evaluation of the pilot phase was completed and the findings were very positive.

The pilot phase was deemed to have been effective in terms of: 

  • learning and development outcomes for the participants 
  • programme design 
  • engagement with and provision of support to delivery organisations
  • administrative and financial control systems.

United Youth Delivery

The NI executive and Irish Government have secured EU PEACE funding which will fund programmes to meet the objectives of the United Youth programme

The Peace4Youth programme has been operational from 2017 until 2022 and has successfully delivered against the main outcome areas (good relations, personal development and citizenship) showing clear progression for young people. 

A similar PEACE PLUS funded programme to Peace4Youth but with additional outcome areas (employability skills and positive progression) is currently being developed and it is hoped it will be commence in 2022.

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