Solas Business Final

Solas Business

It was with great excitement and a sprinkling of nerves that teachers, business mentors and students poured into our venue at St Catherine’s Church last Wednesday for our bi-annual Solas Business Community Final.  This particular Solas Project event is always a highlight of our year, as schools get the opportunity to showcase the creativity and innovation that is sprouting up in classrooms of inner city Dublin.

Students arriving to the final.

Students arriving to the final.

The run up to this day, involves months of dreaming and scheming in Solas Project offices as well as in the classrooms and boardrooms of Dublin.  Each of our seven schools are paired with a team of enthusiastic and skilled business mentors.  For this particular final, our schools reached as far north as St. Paul’s Primary School in Brunswick Street and as far south as the Marist Primary, Crumlin.  Over 5 weeks of the Solas Business experience the students, grouped into teams, were paired with business mentors from a range of companies including, Google, Savills, Byrne Wallace, State Street GA, Catapult and Dropbox.

A full house at St Catherine’s as seven schools come together for the Solas Business Community Final.

A full house at St Catherine’s as seven schools come together for the Solas Business Community Final.

These newly formed ‘companies’ then worked together to bring an idea from its rawest form in the brainstorming session right through to the point where the product or service was ready to be pitched on stage.  Our business mentors championed their team from the beginning to end of the process, fostering the growth of self-worth, character and motivation of each student along the way.

Pupils from St. James’s Primary School greeting the judges.

Pupils from St. James’s Primary School greeting the judges.

Solas Business Community Final always showcases the most imaginative and ground-breaking ideas, so it seemed fitting that our panel of judges also reflected a breadth of interests, background and creativity.  Our panel was made up of Fiach MacConghail (CEO of Digital Hub), Sinéad Moriarty (best-selling author), Joe Carthy (Principal of Science, University College Dublin), Eimear Clowry Delaney (Assistant Director or University of Notre Dame), Alice Dawson (Communications Coordinator, Oxfam Ireland) and Eoghan Heaslip (Minister at St. Catherine’s Church). 

Presentation Primary School Warrenmount supporting their team, ‘The Fluffy Bunnies’

Presentation Primary School Warrenmount supporting their team, ‘The Fluffy Bunnies’

The judges were in awe as they heard about shopping trolleys that you can fold up and bring with you, school bags that you don’t need to carry or another version of schoolbag which has back massagers inbuilt, footballs that return to you when kicked over the wall and onesies with automated temperature control for the homeless.

Judges asking questions, (left to right) Fiach MacConghail, Alice Dawson, Joe Carthy and Sinéad Moriarty.

Judges asking questions, (left to right) Fiach MacConghail, Alice Dawson, Joe Carthy and Sinéad Moriarty.

After being wowed by the presentations, the judges were sent away to deliberate, while the schools and business mentors passed the time practicing Mexican Waves and walking with fidget spinners on their noses!

Midway through our Mexican Wave!

Midway through our Mexican Wave!

As well as an opportunity to showcase the talent of the community, the Community Final also offers the judges an opportunity to pick one winning team and a runner up.  After much deliberation under time pressure, the judges awarded the 1st Prize to ‘Clever Bots’ from Miss Simcox’s class in St. Brigid’s Primary School, The Coombe.  This team had developed an entire robot world that could converse, offer companionship and even help out with everyday tasks!  Their model of a tiny bot, called ‘Jeoff’ teared up when he heard they’d won!  As their prize, St. Brigid’s Primary School will receive €400 to spend as a school.  We’ve heard that there have been suggestions that the school spends it on a chocolate fountain for the yard or guinea pig for the classroom, but we’re yet to hear the final approved decision!

Team ‘Clever Bots’ from St Brigid’s Primary School presenting their idea

Team ‘Clever Bots’ from St Brigid’s Primary School presenting their idea

In second place, ‘Team Care & Kind’ from Ms. Flannery’s class in St James’s Primary School, Basin Lane received a €100 voucher for Easons.  This company came up with a product that can change the flavour of any bad tasting medicine or tablet, helping both children and adults take their required medicine.

Team Care and Kind’ and their mentors Claire and Orla from Byrne Wallace receiving their prize as runner’s up.

Team Care and Kind’ and their mentors Claire and Orla from Byrne Wallace receiving their prize as runner’s up.

All in all, the Community Final was yet another spectacular display of the potential that lies with the young people in our community.   We walked away feeling inspired and our imaginations re-ignited!  Thank you to all our partner schools and businesses for all the time, effort and support to create a platform upon which these young people could shine!

 

 

We are recruiting 3 new exciting roles!

It is a very busy and super exciting time at Solas Project, as we announce 3 vacancies on our team:

JAS - Junior After Schools Youth Cultivator

Compass (Prison Programme) - Youth Cultivator

Justice Programme  - Team Leader

Please see below for further details:

 

 YOUTH CULTIVATOR - JUNIOR AFTER SCHOOLS:

The Youth Cultivator will work within the spirit of Solas Project, the vision of which is an Ireland where all children and young people truly know their self-worth and can take full advantage of their potential. We are achieving this through providing a range of innovative interventions that equip and empower young people to reach their full potential, live life to the full and participate fully in society. Through programmes of learning, mentoring, personal and social development we support young people to create a brighter future for themselves and their communities.


We invite appropriately qualified individuals to apply who are committed to the healthy development of young people, have a creative approach to working with our target group, and are enthusiastic about leading within a demanding youth work environment.


Job Title:                                 Youth Cultivator

Duration:                                 initial 11 month contract

Hours of Work:                       24 hours a week (4 afternoons and 2 mornings during school term, flexibility required during school holidays)

Start Date:                              14th August 2017

Salary:                                    Dependant on skills and experience of successful candidate

Reports to:                              After School Team Leader


Background

Our After School Programme has been running since 2007, and was born out of a desire to provide a safe, encouraging home-like environment after school for children living in challenging circumstances. In 2012 we launched our Junior Club (6 – 8 year olds) as a response for the need for earlier intervention. The Club runs from Monday to Thursday 2.30pm to 6:15pm. Each day there are three main components: a warm nutritious meal, assisting children with their homework and a constructive, fun activity. Through all its activities the programme strives to build up each child’s self-worth and confidence, and to help each child discover his or her gifts and abilities.

 

Role Description

Programme Delivery (Junior After School Club)

Overall responsibility for the day to day running and development of our Junior After School Club in accordance with the objectives of the programme, and show flexibility in meeting this responsibility.

·         Provide a structured and loving home like environment where children feel safe and boundaries are clear.

  • Build trusting relationships with children and their families. After initial meeting, meet parents at least once more during the school year.
  • Create and implement an individualised development plan for each child including specific learning goals relating to academic, social development and life-skills.
  • Plan programme and activities each term with support from the After School Team Leader.
  • Lead and/or willingness to take part in outdoor activities and adventure sports.
  • Play an active part in the After School team including attending weekly meetings, supervision sessions and assisting with the Service Return in October.
  • Plan programme and activities each term with support from the After School Team Leader.
  • Liaise with parents, teachers and other community / statutory agencies.
  • Meet regularly (at least twice a year) with the teachers of each child in the programme.
  • Organise holiday projects and end of term trips within set budget.
  • Manage volunteers and interns supporting the Junior After School Club and meet with the Volunteer Co-ordinator on regular basis, giving feedback on volunteer performance. 

 

General

  • As required assist with the running of any of the other project’s programmes or activities.

·         Provide supervision to interns and students involved in the Club through regular meetings.  

  • Provide Cultivation Manager with reports (verbal/written) on individual children as required.
  • Be familiar with and abide by the project’s policies, including child protection and health and safety guidelines for workers and volunteers.
  • Contribute to the wider strategic development of the project by playing an active role.
  • Ensure that the values and ethos of the project are reflected in a consistent manner in all activities.

 

The ideal candidate will have:

·         Minimum of two years’ experience of working with young people (primary school age).

·         A recognised qualification in one of the following: Education, Social Work, Social Care, Child Development or related discipline.

·         Experience of dealing with challenging behaviour and children with additional needs.

·         Experience of planning, implementing and reviewing programmes involving young people.

·         Understanding of educational disadvantage and the challenges young people face. 

·         Proven track record of ability to attract, motivate and manage volunteers.

·         Experience in first aid and food safety would be an advantage

·         The ability to identify and develop new ways to develop the programme that will further the Project’s mission.

·         Full appreciation and active support of the ethos and values of Solas Project

·         D1 Driving licence would be an advantage

Required Attributes and Skills

Compassion, Patience, Organisational Astuteness, Process Improvement, Developing Standards, Reporting Skills, Innovation, Adventurous, High Emotional Intelligence and Resilience. 

 

To apply please send a CV and cover letter to:

Amy Carey, Solas Project, 40 Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8 by Monday 22nd May.

 Please note interviews will take place the week of the 29th May with second round interviews taking place the following week.

____________________________________________________________

 

JUSTICE PROGRAMME - TEAM LEADER

Team leader required for a new and innovative Youth Justice Initiative. The Youth Cultivator will work within the spirit of Solas Project, the vision of which is an Ireland where all children and young people truly know their self-worth and can take full advantage of their potential.

We are achieving this through providing a range of innovative interventions that equip and empower young people to reach their full potential, live life to the full and participate fully in society.

 The programme’s target groups is young people who have a high or serious level of offending (14 – 18 years) but have not yet been in prison. As this is a new initiative a key part of this role is to shape the content of this work. There will be a heavy focus on individual mentoring and also small group work and skill based activities. The Team Leader will also have responsibility for managing The Yard, our skills based training workshop.

We invite appropriately qualified individuals to apply who are committed to the healthy development of young people in Ireland, have a creative approach to working with our target group, and are enthusiastic about leading, managing and monitoring performance within a challenging environment.

 

Job Title:                                 Youth Justice Programme Team Leader - Youth Cultivator

Duration:                                 Initial 11 month contract

Hours of Work:                       35 hours a week with weekend and evening work required

Start Date:                              June 2017

Salary:                                    Dependant on skills and experience of successful candidate

Reports to:                              Cultivation Manager

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Minimum of four years’ experience of working with young people in a disadvantaged context.

  • A recognised qualification in: Youth Work, Social Work, Education or related discipline.

  • Extensive experience of the not for profit sector in a disadvantaged context

  • Proven track record of ability to manage and motivate both staff and volunteers

  • Experience of designing and implementing new innovative programmes.

  • Broad understanding of the criminal justice system

  • Clean driving licence and use of own car

  • Appreciation and support of the ethos and values of Solas Project

Required Attributes and Skills:

 Compassion, Patience, Organisational Astuteness, High Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Process Improvement, Reporting Skills, Change Management, Coaching, Supports Innovation, Developing Standards, Administrative Writing Skills and People Skills.

 Job Description:

 Manage the day to day running of the programme including holding regular team meeting and one to one’s with staff.

 

  • The team leader will ensure effective engagement with new target group and the development of trusting relationships with the young people and their families. Including working directly with young people in a mentoring capacity and supporting the team with their caseloads.

     

  • Develop and implement a programme for new target group including both a one-to-one element and group work. Inclusion of engaging skill based and personal development activities. Ensure appropriate programmes to cater both for those in the formal education system and those who have been excluded from formal education.

 

  • Manage and develop The Yard (skills based training workshop), with a focus on managing staff and oversight of a small social enterprise

     

  • Manage the record keeping of all staff and ensure all records are kept in an orderly and up to date manner.

     

  • Develop, manage and support an effective team of volunteers

 

  • Deliver desired outcomes for each stage of the programme in line with the programme’s strategic objectives.

 

  • Manage relationships with relevant stakeholders including both statutory bodies and community organisations.

 

  • Review the programme’s existing policies and update where necessary. Draft any necessary policies that the programme does not currently have and which under best practice guidelines would be required or appropriate.

     

  • Be familiar with and abide by the Project’s child protection policy.

     

  • To contribute to the wider strategic development of the Project by playing an active role and assisting in the Project’s other programmes as required.

     

  • To ensure that the values and ethos of the Project are reflected in a consistent manner in all activities.

     

    To apply please send a CV and cover letter to: Clodagh O’Reilly, Solas Project, 40 Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8 by Wednesday 24th May.

     

    Please note interviews will take place the week of 29th May.

___________________________________________________________

COMPASS - PRISON PROGRAMME - YOUTH CULTIVATOR

The Youth Cultivator will work within the spirit of Solas Project, the vision of which is an Ireland where all children and young people truly know their self-worth and can take full advantage of their potential. We are achieving this through providing a range of innovative interventions that equip and empower young people to reach their full potential, live life to the full and participate fully in society. Through programmes of learning, mentoring, personal and social development we support young people to create a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

 

The aim of Compass is to “love every young prisoner in Ireland away from re-offending and towards a new life”. This is achieved by running meaningful activities in the prison which then enables relationships to be built and continued in a mentoring capacity in the community. This main focus of this role is the co-ordination and running of the in-prison activities. The Youth Cultivator will also work as part of the Compass team and be involved in community mentoring as required.

 

We invite appropriately qualified individuals to apply who are committed to the healthy development of young people, have a creative approach to working with our target group (Young people within the justice system aged 16-24), and are enthusiastic about working within a demanding youth work environment.

 

Job Title:                                 Youth Cultivator – Compass (Prison Programme)

 

Duration:                                 11 months

 

Hours of Work:                       35 hrs a week with some weekend and evening work required

 

Start Date:                             

 

Salary:                                    Dependant on skills and experience of successful candidate

 

 

 

The ideal candidate will have:

 

  • Minimum of two years’ experience of working with young people in a disadvantaged context

  • A recognised qualification in one: Youth Work, Social Work, Education or related discipline.

  • Extensive experience of the not for profit sector in a disadvantage context

  • Proven track record of ability to attract, motivate and manage volunteers

  • Innovative spirit with the ability to identify and develop new and fresh ways to expand the programme that will further the Project’s mission.

  • Clean driving licence and use of own car

  • Broad understanding of the criminal justice system

  • Appreciation and support of the ethos and values of Solas Project

 

 

 

Required Attributes and Skills:

 

Compassion, Patience, Organisational Astuteness, High Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Process Improvement, Reporting Skills, Change Management, Coaching, Supports Innovation, Developing Standards, Administrative Writing Skills and People Skills.

 

 

Role Description

 

The person will have specific responsibility for the running and development of Compass’ in prison activities and relationships as well as supporting the community work of Compass.

 

Programme Delivery and Development

  • Deliver desired outcomes for each stage of the programme in line with the programme’s strategic objectives.

     

  • Develop and implement prison based meaningful activities that will engage and attract participants.

 

  • Collaborate with other agencies and/or individuals in the development of meaningful activities within the prison.

 

  • Build trusting relationships with young people in prison in order to enable Compass to continue supporting them upon release.

     

  • Initiate, manage and develop pre-release tailored care plans with participants who have engaged with the programme and who are willing to be supported in the community on release.

     

  • In the process of developing tailored pre-release care plans with each participant, identify, engage and liaise with all necessary and required third parties to properly assess the needs of participants on release.

     

  • As required support the Compass team by mentoring participants in the community on their release as per the standard community support care plan

     

  • Manage and support a team of volunteers for the in-prison activities.

     

  • Review the programme’s existing policies and update and/or amending same where necessary.

     

     

Other

 

  • As required assist with the running of any of the other project’s programmes or activities.

 

  • Be familiar with and abide by the project’s policies and procedures, including child protection and health and safety guidelines for workers and volunteers.

 

  • Contribute, as requested, to Solas Project’s communications team including regular updates and ‘Stories of Impact’

 

  • Work with and respond to queries from any 3rd parties requesting information on the programme.

 

  • Contribute to the wider strategic development of the project by playing an active role.

 

  • Ensure that the values and ethos of the project are reflected in a consistent manner in all activities.

 

 

To apply please send a CV and cover letter to: Clodagh O’Reilly, Solas Project 40

Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8 by 24th May

 

Please note interviews will take place the week of 5th June.

 

Linkedin in Wheatfield!

We are delighted to partner with Linkedin over the past year as they support our Compass programme. 

We kicked off with a 'Think Tank' giving a group from Linkedin a real insight into what life is like for the young people we support. Looking at the circumstances that lead to a young person being held in Wheatfield Prison and what the supports Solas Project offers both in prison and post-release in the community. Within 3 months, statistics show that 76% of 18 - 24 year olds will re-offend, we work very hard to support a young person to re-build their life and make positive choices going forward.

Last Thursday, after many months of planning, we brought a team from Linkedin to Wheatfield Prison to play against the young lads we support. At Solas Project, we believe in providing as 'normal' a life as possible for the young lads whilst in prison and with our support on release we hope they will move away from a life of crime. 

It was a great days football, with Linkedin winning 7-1, however we are informed some of the key Wheatfield players weren't there, so already looking forward to a re-match!

A huge thank you to Lesley Ronaldson from Linkedin and all the team for their willingness to help and support of our work. We are looking forward to further developing our partnership over the next couple of months.

The Linkedin Football team with Solas Project Youth Cultivator Dave Jackson & Volunteer Paddy Mills.

The Linkedin Football team with Solas Project Youth Cultivator Dave Jackson & Volunteer Paddy Mills.

If you are interested in hearing more about Compass, please contact Clodagh

It's been quite a while!

It's been quite a time since we've shared a blog post, it's been a really busy term with lots of great stuff going on! As we move into the last term of the year, we thought it would be a great time to share a little bit from one of our wonderful interns Lorna. Lorna has been with us since September, after taking a year out from college.

She has been such a great support to us, and the kids just love her!

If you are interested in pursuing an internship with Solas Project, drop Elizabeth an email!

In her own words, here's an insight into Lornas time at Solas Project:

Starting Solas Project, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, apart from what Emily, the volunteer manager, had told me during my induction interview.

I began with a completely open mind. I will always remember my first day at Solas Project, walking into an office full of smiling office staff members and interns who were more than happy to have me on board for the next year, and I knew everything was going to be alright, my nerves were soon a thing of the past and I was thrown straight in, making a chicken curry for the kids dinner in the kitchen.

I have had a great experience so far and the reason my journey with Solas Project has been so fabulous so far is simply because of the staff, and the children I work with. I love being an intern with Solas Project as you never know what to expect every morning when you walk into the offices, you could be doing anything from carrying benches up the road to local primary schools or blowing up balloons, planning some fabulous activities for the kids or putting your culinary skills to use in the kitchen, working on your tag rugby skills with Ste in local primary schools or preparing for the day ahead at club.

Every afternoon brings something new also, our afternoons at club are packed with fun things for the kids, and of course the homework. I have been fortunate to work as an intern with both Junior and Senior Afterschools club and I enjoy every minute of it, every day brings its own challenges and amazing, unforgettable moments – each child that I have had the opportunity to work with has their own unique personality and traits, and that is what makes them special to me, and I have enjoyed creating such a strong bond with them.

Solas Project is of a huge benefit to each child’s life, from working here over the past 7 months I have seen so many children that I work with grow in confidence – helping the children to become the best that they can be is what we strive to do and I feel like the children hugely appreciate us for this, even though they may not show it.

What I have learned over the past few months at Solas Project are things that I will use in my future life as a primary school teacher, it has been an invaluable experience and I have made memories with both the staff and the children that I will never forget.

I would hugely recommend interning or volunteering with Solas Project as it is an invaluable experience, as it is a place full of joy, laughter, and all things great in life.  Solas Project has done nothing but inspire and encourage me, whilst also challenging me in a lot of different ways.

I will finish by leaving the following quote, which I feel personally is my experience with Solas Project. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Thanks for reading, Lorna x

It's not all hardwork, Lorna (pictured on the right with Sean & Andrew two other interns) still gets time for some modelling work in Dublin 8!

It's not all hardwork, Lorna (pictured on the right with Sean & Andrew two other interns) still gets time for some modelling work in Dublin 8!

Solas Business Community Final

The tension was mounting as our Solas Business young entrepreneurs took to the stage last Friday morning to pitch their ideas to our 'dragons'.

Solas Business has been running in 5 of our corporate partners over the past couple of months, teaming up 5th class students from local schools with mentors to come up with a solution to a problem the young people face in life today.

Each school is paired with one of our corporate partners, the programme runs for 4 weeks in each school, with the 5th week seeing the students travel to the boardroom of their corporate partner to present their ideas. A winner is selected who goes on to compete at the Community Final. 

The standard was exceptionally high, each pitch was polished, confidently delivered and the groups handled tricky questions from our 'dragons' exceptionally well.

Honourable runner up was Francis St School with 'The Penculator' a very handy pen with a holographic calculator. Their mentors from Bank of America Merrill Lynch were extremely impressed with the lads and very much enjoyed their first time involvement with the programme.

Runners up from Francis St CBS with their mentors from Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Runners up from Francis St CBS with their mentors from Bank of America Merrill Lynch

 

Alas, there can be only one winner, and after much deliberation, Synge St school were the winners with their very innovative idea 'The Saviour Watch'. A multi purpose watch which has a whole host of features including the ability to report bullying. Synge St were partnered with Mainstream Renewable Energy, one of our longterm supporters. I'm not sure who was more excited about the win, the kids or their mentors! The winning school win a €400 voucher to spend at their school. There were already some tough negotiations on what it will be spent on!

Winning Group from Synge St School with their mentors from Mainstream Renewable Energy and the 'Dragons'

Winning Group from Synge St School with their mentors from Mainstream Renewable Energy and the 'Dragons'

A huge thank you to our wonderful 'Dragons' who had a very tough decision. Thanks to Sabina Cotter from Irish Youth Foundation, Bill Hutchinson from Ebay, Grainne Madden from GMJ Associates and Derek Tynan a long time supporter of our work. They were wonderfully supportive and encouraging to all.

'Dragons' - Sabina Cotter, Bill Hutchinson, Grainne Madden, Derek Tynan 

'Dragons' - Sabina Cotter, Bill Hutchinson, Grainne Madden, Derek Tynan 

We know it can be tough not coming out as the winning team, however each presenter went away with a goody bag kindly provided by Ebay so there were smiles all round.

Goody bags sponsored by Ebay

Goody bags sponsored by Ebay

Solas Business is part of our Solas@School initiative working to increase the self-worth, character and motivation of each young person and provide exposure to a working environment.

A huge thank you to our corporate partners who took part; Mainstream Renewable Energy, Marin Software, McCann Fitzgerald, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BlackRock Financial Services.

If your company is interested in taking part in Solas Business or any of our employee engagement programmes, please contact Clodagh O'Reilly (Clodagh@solasproject.ie)

Scoil Treasa Naofa and their mentors from Marin Software

Scoil Treasa Naofa and their mentors from Marin Software

St Endas and their mentors from McCann Fitzgerald

St Endas and their mentors from McCann Fitzgerald

Stanhope St and their mentors from BlackRock Financial Services

Stanhope St and their mentors from BlackRock Financial Services

Synge St and their mentors from Mainstream Renewable Energy