Local Piloting in Ireland – Sessions of the Up-skilling Programme

The piloting took place on the following dates: Session 1: 7, 9 & 10th February 2023; Session 2: 23rd & 24th February 2023 and Session 3: 2nd & 3rd March 2023. In total we delivered 36 hours of training.

The training was organised following the LTTA in Germany in December. We discussed how best to implement the pilots with interested participants and given the geographical size of county Cavan, we offered training in 2 locations. Therefore we delivered the training over 3 sessions with 2 groups of participants, totally 15. We introduced all 5 modules of the Up-skilling programme, the tool bank and mapping tool and we also spent time on the case studies and visioning exercises to come up with gaps in the market for new social enterprises. We tried to encourage participants to think of next steps and plans for these – however given the circumstances of the participants this was not realistic but we support each participant to identify their next steps in terms of personal and professional goals, some of which were linked to exploring social enterprises as a model for progression.

Overall, attendance at all 3 sessions was strong with participants achieving 90% attendance. The evaluation of participants was positive with high levels of engagement with the materials. We used the PPT as needed but focused on the small group work and exercises so that the participants could support each other and exchange ideas. Only 3 participants had previous knowledge of social enterprises and therefore we spent more time on Modules 1, 2, and 3.

Overall, the participants found the materials of the upskilling programme to be very beneficial and useful especially for our participants with migrant backgrounds that were finding it challenging to access employment. The materials which focusing on social enterprise all participants to set objectives, identify a goal and discuss ways to achieve the goal. Challenges and barriers can be discussed once trust has developed in the group and there are mainly activities in the programme that allow for this to happen. Through the case studies, it was useful to identify what was possible and we arranged for a guest speaker from a migrant-led social enterprise from Co. Monaghan to join the group in order to share her experiences and bring the final elements of the training to life.

Spectrum Research Centre CLG did not record videos of the participants as they did not want to be recorded (lack of confidence, language skills). They have agreed to provide written testimonials if needed.

Think Social! is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union ??.