Youth in the area were celebrated at a special event at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre recently.
The Education Authority, Youth Service for Craigavon, Banbridge and Cookstown held their celebration of training and, as it was held during Volunteer Week, it was also a celebration of all the great voluntary youth work carried out on behalf of young people.
More than 120 young people and adults attended and most received certificates recognizing accredited and non-accredited training undertaken throughout the past year. The training courses delivered by the Youth Service ranged from locally qualified youth worker training to fundamentals of Autism and Millennium Volunteers.
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Councillor Darryn Causby delivered the keynote speech and he spoke of his own personal journey as a young person who had reaped the benefits of being a member of Portadown YMCA through to gaining a professional youth work qualification at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. Darryn focused on how he himself progressed in youth work by gaining local OCN accredited training from both Portadown YMCA and the SELB Youth Service. He encouraged all those present to keep adding to their training portfolio as it was so beneficial when working with young people, improving the programmes and activities on offer to them whilst enhancing the worker’s own development.
There were motivational inputs from both the EA youth work team and others including Chris Mulholland, Volunteer in Banbridge; Jane Gribben, Volunteer Now; and Elizabeth McNeice a teacher from Lismore Comprehensive.
Roisin McConville, Area Youth officer, said the evening was a very special event in the Youth Service calendar as it was not just an opportunity to celebrate and reward the achievements of so many but also an opportunity to promote and improve awareness of the wide array of training that is offered by the Youth Service. “The atmosphere at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre was uplifting and the strong message delivered on the night was that participating in training can really enhance employability, life skills and self-confidence, enabling a more progressive and developmental service to young people in our community,” said Roisin
Through the closing remarks Aideen McCormick, Deputy Head of Youth, thanked and praised the staff team for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year.