Twenty-one young people from Malta were guests of Limerick Youth Service recently as they, along with their Limerick peers, participated in an international youth exchange programme called, YURT.
Youth Unemployment Rethinking Together (YURT) was a week-long series of on innovative workshops the focused on the effects of unemployment, particularly long term unemployment, on a young person’s mental health.
The YURT programme also focused on the importance of keeping active in both mind and body when unemployed, while there was also workshops on interview skills, CV writing and the role of social media in job hunting.
“One of the aims of the week was to mobilise young people to look for employment and to remain positive even when it seems that a job will never come,” said Kate O’Driscoll, Limerick Youth Service.
“We feel that participants finished the programme better equipped to go in search of employment with some saying have a more positive outlook,” added Ms. O’Driscoll.
With Ireland and Malta having a young, well educated workforce the unemployment crisis has resulted in young people not getting their ideal job, a point raised by many participants.
“There was general consensus that a person may not get a job they have trained/studied for, but that this (job) can be a stepping stone to more suitable employment,” Ms. O’Driscoll stated.
All were in agreement that a person needed to stay positive, actively search for work and, if need be consider moving to another location be it national or international.
Reflecting on the YURT programme, participant Eugene Woodland, said that he ‘really enjoyed it and it found the workshops very beneficial particularly those that focus on mental health and staying positive.’
“Personally, the (mental health) workshops highlighted that the key is to keep yourself active, get involved and soak in knowledge from other cultures,” said Mr. Woodland.
“With the tools this exchange has given us it, we are aware that others go through things that we can help with. A little word to someone can change their day, a helping hand can change their life and as LYS have given us a hand we will to others,” added Mr. Woodland.
Away from the workshops, participants enjoy the best of Limerick and the Midwest’s hospitality and culture, as they visited sites such as King John’s Castle, the Cliffs of Moher and Lough Derg.
YURT was the second part of this youth exchange. The first part, titled Extend, saw young people from Limerick Youth Service visit Birkarkara in September 2014.
Limerick Youth Service wishes to congratulate the young people who participated in the exchange and thank our Maltese counterparts, ZAK Malta and the local community for their support.
ZAK Malta – Zghazagh Azzjoni Kattolika (ZAK) is a branch of the Maltese Catholic Action and its fundamental purpose is to provide programs of spiritual, social and personal development.
The YURT youth exchange/programme was funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme while participants also fundraised in their local communities to help with costs.
A member of Youth Work Ireland, Limerick Youth Service remains committed to supporting and encouraging young people to be active participants in shaping their futures.
Visit the Limerick Youth Service website here