An award-winning student found her dream career in childcare thanks to the encouragement of Youthreach teachers in Donegal.
Faith Osarenkhoe, aged 19, likes to tell as many people as she can about the untold benefits of the Youthreach programme for young people.
Youthreach is a practical education programme for young people aged 16-20, provided through Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service. As an alternative to the Leaving Certificate, students who have left school early can gain qualifications and life skills to progress to employment or other further and higher education. There is more of a focus on practical projects and portfolios than traditional exams.
For Faith, the programme was a great way to begin her education journey in Ireland. She moved from Nigeria to Ireland at the age of 15.
“I left secondary school early back in Nigeria but I really wanted to get a qualification so I could continue to college,” Faith said.
When a friend introduced her to Youthreach, she signed up and never looked back.
In fact, Faith was so driven that she completed the two year programme in one year.
“I really loved the attention you get from the teachers. They are with you all the time and the classes are small.
“The system was new for me because I had just arrived, but Youthreach makes school easy. If you do not understand something the teacher is there to make it easier for you.”
Students gain a range of national Level 3 and 4 Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) awards during the programme, which are on the same level as the Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate.
“They also took me to a programme where you can find your career,” Faith said.
Faith took the opportunity to complete the programme early and progress into a QQI Level 5 Post Leaving Certificate Course (PLC) at Errigal College. Following this year of study, she took another stepping stone by completing an Advanced Certificate (Level 6) Childhood Care and Education programme in Sligo. This course enabled her to travel on Erasmus to Malaga for two weeks.
“It was a lovely time, we were working in a creche and getting to know the difference in childcare in Ireland and in Spain.”
Ever motivated to do her best, Faith’s drive was formally recognised when she was crowned Student of the Year 2022 in Sligo.
Faith also did work experience with a Sligo-based creche and was offered a full-time job. She is still with this creche and enjoying every day it brings.
“It is a busy big creche with great staff and many workers from different countries,” she said.
Faith credits Youthreach for introducing her to her career and setting her on the path to full-time work.
“I keep telling people about Youthreach, most people do not know what it is but I like to explain it and tell people how it gave me the basics to find my career.”
Donegal ETB’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/youthreach.
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
YouTube: Donegal Youthreach Programme
Youthreach is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.