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NEIC work placement programme: Opening Doors, Opening Minds

The North East Inner City (NEIC) Initiative is a social regeneration initiative endorsed by Government involving local communities in the NEIC, businesses and statutory agencies creating opportunities to bring about lasting, positive change in the area.

Over the next 7 months National College of Ireland will work in partnership with the NEIC and organisations across Dublin 1 and Dublin 2 to place 420 students from 6 local schools in meaningful Transition Year and Leaving Cert Applied placements, as part of the NEIC initiative: Opening Doors Opening Minds.

Work experience placements can make a real difference in the lives of young people. Work placements can often repeat patterns of inequality with working class students getting working class placements and middle class pupils experiencing the benefits of ‘professional placements’. The NEIC work experience placement programme is one strand in a coordinated effort to buck this trend, open doors, raise awareness and aspirations and, ultimately, to provide students in Dublin 1 schools with access to and insight into professions and career paths outside their existing network of contacts.

In 2018 / 2019, the NEIC Initiative placed almost 100 second level (4th and 5th year) students in high quality one- to two-week placements across businesses and civil and public service organisations in Dublin 1 & Dublin 2. Organisations included PwC, A&L Goodbody, Central Bank of Ireland, Department of the Taoiseach, JP Morgan, State Street, AIG, Department of Education and Skills, Dublin City Council, City of Dublin Education and Training Board, Three, The Convention Centre, Croke Park, Irish Life, Kennedy Wilson, McCann Fitzgerald and Oracle.

The coordinator for Beauchamps responded to their experience last year: “The students were an absolute pleasure to have around. They managed to make the office an even happier place by just being here and we are so delighted we got involved. We have a responsibility as a large corporate enterprise in this area, to work with the community and show them that it is not beyond their reach. So, by getting involved with the NEIC, it has helped us to cast our net even further”

Student response to last year’s placements showed a huge increase in confidence and a broadening of horizons: “Everything was better than I expected and the people there were amazing. I’ve learned to work professionally with PowerPoint and Excel”; “I learned so much about jobs I didn’t even know existed.”

Based on both positive feedback and impact of this programme the NEIC are extending this support to all 6 second level schools in the NEIC area for the 2019/2020 academic year: Larkin Community College; Mount Carmel Secondary School; Marino College; Rosmini Community School; St. Joseph’s; O’Connell Secondary School. In practical terms, this means securing high quality work-experience placements for 420 students. To achieve this goal NEIC have partnered with the National College of Ireland’s Career Development & Employability team to co-ordinate this.

Michael Stone, Chair of the NEIC Programme Implementation Board, noted: “The feedback from last years’ participants was overwhelmingly positive and we are asking all businesses and civil & public service organisations within Dublin 1 and Dublin 2 to consider hosting a local Dublin 1 student on a work experience placement. This initiative has proven itself to be an impactful and effective way to support the community in a highly meaningful way.”

John Ruigrok, NEIC Work Experience Placement Co-ordinator said:  “At National College of Ireland, our mission is to “change lives through education”. This programme is a real chance for employers to change lives through work experience. Interested businesses can contact me directly on (01) 4498796 or email john.ruigrok@ncirl.ie.”

Caroline Kennedy, Career Development & Employability Manager commented: “A fundamental part of the ethos and mission of NCI is to address disadvantage and reduce barriers to progress. The NEIC Work Experience Placement initiative fits with our vision and values completely and we look forward to working with our second level neighbours over the coming 7 months to secure high quality, meaningful placements with organisations in the surrounding area.”

08/10/2019