A young Donegal artist is building her own alternative jewellery brand after taking an alternative route in education.
Jasmine Bride, aged 18, is the founder of Ophiuchus Creations, a handmade jewellery brand of wire wrapped crystals and stones.
Jasmine launched her brand in March, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, she is continuously working on sales, marketing and expansion. She also has a passion for learning, which has been spurred in recent years by a practical education programme for young people called Youthreach, provided through Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service.
The Youthreach programme suited Jasmine much more than the traditional Leaving Cert school education. She had been living in England before her family moved to Donegal in 2017. The school year had already started, but a friend recommended Youthreach in Ballyshannon – one of six centres across Donegal.
Youthreach is a free education, training and work experience programme for young people aged 16-20 years who have left school early. It provides people with the qualifications and life skills to progress to employment or other further and higher education, with a focus on project or portfolio work rather than exams.
“Youthreach is a good alternative if you’re more of a practical worker,” Jasmine explained. “It’s for people who don’t get on well with the way of learning in schools.”
Jasmine studied general subjects such as maths, communications and IT while she particularly enjoyed the skill training in art and woodwork.
For Jasmine, the teaching style was much more motivating than mainstream schooling. “The tutors do not act like teachers, the classes are more like a conversation instead of them telling us ‘This is what you need to learn’. They talked to us as adults, and they were always there if you needed help,” she said.
Jasmine first enrolled with Youthreach to get her qualifications. As she progressed on the two-year programme, her creative and entrepreneurial spirit grew.
“As I went on, I started to get better in a lot of different ways, socially and in business. I really liked woodwork and I decided to start my own business just before lockdown,” she said.
“I learned a lot about business from my parents and from YouTube over the years, but I’ve had a lot of encouragement and advice from Youthreach on what course to take.”
Work experience is an important part of the Youthreach programme and Jasmine used her placement to learn about the world of catering. This part of the programme can also help students get their foot in the door of a workplace.
“I learned a lot about cheffing. A few people I know who were in Youthreach got an apprenticeship or had opportunities given to them from the work experience,” Jasmine said.
Now that the programme is complete, Jasmine is busy creating and selling wire-wrapped jewellery using crystals and pieces she finds at her local beach in Bundoran, such as sea glass and sea pottery. She is also branching into wall hangings, while working on online sales and securing local stockists. Check out Jasmine’s Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OphiuchusCreations
“I hope to broaden as much as I can. I want to work continuously on always getting better, producing better quality products so that I can branch out into other aspects of jewellery as well. I’m also working on digital illustration,” she said.
Looking back on her own experience of Youthreach, Jasmine is eager to recommend the route to other young people who did not have a good experience in school.
“I’d encourage people to ask about Youthreach, especially if they didn’t get on well with the normal way of learning at school. It broadens your perspective, with getting to know people a bit better and having a small circle. The tutors are really nice and you build a relationship with them as non-authority people.
“If you’re thinking about doing it, I’d say go ahead. If you’re nervous, I’m sure there’s someone around you who has done Youthreach that you can talk to. Don’t be afraid to speak to the coordinators, they are there to help.”
Donegal’s six Youthreach centres are now enrolling. If you, or someone you know, is thinking about joining the programme, you can find more information at this link: http://www.donegaletb.ie/schools-youth-services/youthreach/ or check out their information brochure: https://www.donegaletb.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/YR-Brochure-@-June-20.pdf.
For any enquiries, fill out the online web form and the team will get back to you: https://www.donegaletb.ie/donegal-youthreach-enquiry-form/
You can also call the Youthreach Centres on the following numbers:
- Ballyshannon (Paula) – 071 98 51286
- Buncrana/Glengad (Jayne) – 074 93 62626
- Gortahork (Caitriona) – 074 91 35218
- Letterkenny (Gillian) – 074 91 22585
- Lifford (Aidan) – 074 91 42114
You can also follow Youthreach on social media:
YouTube: Donegal Youthreach Programme
Youthreach is co-funded by the Government of Ireland, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.Tags: