Research under way on how the right training helps youth workers get through to their clients better and support them to live to their full potential
Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), with its track record in delivering courses on facilitation skills for promoting health and wellbeing, is currently offering that training to youth workers, who are being empowered to empower the young people with whom they work.
With the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) and the Mens Development Network (MDN), the Centre for Health Behaviour Research WIT is working on a research project that is exploring the impact the ‘Facilitation Skills for Health and Wellbeing’ training has on youth workers and their organisations across eight organisations nationwide.
This project is jointly funded by the National Office for Suicide Preventions and Health Promotion and Improvement, Health and Wellbeing Division within the HSE.
“Training in the areas of soft skill development such as communication, interpersonal skills and leadership is essential when working with young people. These skills are fundamental in developing rapport and trust which ultimately enables the work to happen with young people,” said Dr Paula Carroll, one of the research project supervisors and lecturer with the Department of Health Sport and Exercise Science at WIT.
“The training model is supportive on a number of levels. Youth workers attend with a colleague from their centre, training is also offered to managers and the whole staff so that the learnings can be integrated into practice within the organisation.”
At the core of the training are elements of WIT’s new MA in Advanced Facilitation Skills for Promoting Health and Well Being which is being offered this September in keeping with the demand for these skills among front line service providers and management.
Over the years community, social and youth workers, teachers, health professionals, those in positions of management and those working with marginalised or vulnerable groups have completed postgraduate courses delivered within the Department of Health Sport and Exercise Science at WIT and have highly praised its benefit to their work and lives.
Lecturers within the department have also delivered training aligned to these postgraduate courses to health promotion specialists across a number of sectors as part of a research project. The current training and research project with youth workers builds upon the learnings of previous research experience and those involved say that it is the most effective training model to date.
“The focus of the training is based on facilitation skills carried out through group work and personal development that reflects how youth workers can interact and work with young people. We’re finding that this specialised training helps youth workers accept and understand that everyone is coming from a different place and difficulties completely vary from person to person.”
“Youth workers are learning on many levels as a result of this training and these learnings have begun to be integrated into their practice which they believe will benefit the young people with whom they work.”
The MA in Facilitation Skills for Health and Well Being is the only one of its kind nationally and is delivered one evening a week and over three Saturdays and three residential weekends throughout the year. See www.wit.ie/wd591 and www.wit.ie/wellbeing.