A building to house the new Ardee YouthReach centre has still not been acquired – meaning the service that was supposed to launch in the town last September still has no confirmed date for opening it’s doors.
Last May, the Department of Education granted an application lodged by the Louth Meath Education Training Board for the new service to come to Ardee – in addition to similar YouthReach services in Drogheda and Dundalk.
It was initially hoped that the centre would open in Ardee in September last year – and that was only after a delay put paid to hopes of the service arriving in the town in 2015. But after one premises that that Ardee YouthReach hoped to set up in fell through, the search for another suitable location has proved troublesome.
In November, LMETB member Tomas Sharkey aired his concerns over the delay in the opening of the centre for Mid-Louth. While the delay is ongoing, the YouthReach centre has been earmarked for Ardee and there is no chance that it will fall through – all it needs is a suitable venue to be found.
Ardee Youthreach will – when it eventually arrives – be a new centre of education for young people aged between 15 and 20 who have left school without completing their second level qualifications. YouthReach is a programme run by the Department of Education and Skills, which offers official education, training and work experience for early school leavers.
The programme offers young people the opportunity to identify options within adult life and provides them with the opportunities to acquire certification. After participating on the programme, young people can go onto further education, apply for apprenticeships or enter the world of employment with more confidence.
Like services elsewhere in the region, YouthReach in Ardee will offer a second-chance of education to 15-21 year olds in the area. As well as heightening their chances of employment, YouthReach also places significant emphasis on life experiences too. The service will also offer numeracy and literacy help as well as counselling and career guidance.
The new Ardee centre will be run by Stephen McArdle – formerly of Drogheda YouthReach – and will cater for young people all around Mid-Louth. Up until now, any youngster looking to avail of the service would have had to travel to Dundalk or Drogheda.