Young people who are out of education or full-time employment are being given the opportunity to spend seven days in the Irish wilderness, while learning life skills which will help them in returning to studies or the labour market.
FOLM (From Outdoors to Labour Market), which is being rolled out in Ireland by Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and is also being developed in Poland and Spain, is a pioneering outdoor learning initiative, to support young people in returning to full-time employment or education.
The programme is free and open to young people, aged between 18 and 29 years old, who are not in employment or education. After seven days in the wilderness, participants then begin work with a coach who helps them to return to education, training or employment.
The outdoor learning model blueprint was designed by the University of Edinburgh, who with the support of the Venture Trust, have implemented the programme there for more than ten years with positive results.
Communications Officer for Research, Development & Innovation at LIT, Josh Prenderville, said: “The FOLM Project uses outdoor learning as a means to engage youth with the community and is completely free for participants. The FOLM programme is a natural fit for LIT, an institution that holds inclusivity and access to education among its core values. The project has been successful so far, with a number of expeditions conducted in mountain ranges across the Midwest. We’re now looking for young people across Ireland, who are out of education or employment, to be given the same opportunity with FOLM. Youth unemployment at the beginning of 2020 remains at around 12%, with over 19,000 young people under 25 on the Live Register alone. We believe that this exciting European-wide project gives young people across the country a fighting chance to turn their lives around, in a way that will equip them with skills that last a lifetime.”
As many as 330 young people from across the country will engage with the programme through LIT over the coming months.
The FOLM project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway trough the EEA and Norway Grants fund for youth employment.
Those who are interested and eligible for the programme can sign up on the programme’s website, www.folmweb.com
The FOLM project - "From Outdoors to Labour Market” - will determine if the outdoor learning model can assist young people between 18 and 29 back in to education, training and/or employment. FOLM addresses the challenges of youths who are disengaged in education, training or employment, by providing an innovative means for them to recognise their strengths/talents, as well as building positive mental attitudes and learning life skills.
FOLM is led by the Centre for Innovative Education and LIT is partnered with seven other organisations from Poland, Spain and Scotland. The total project budget, provided by EEA grants, exceeds €4 million. LIT’s total allocated budget is approximately €800,000.