McIlveen welcomes £1million investment in IT resources for the youth voluntary sector
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen today announced a major investment of £1 million to increase the IT capacity of the youth voluntary sector.
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen launches EA’s voluntary Youth Computer Skills Building Program with Jo Venus, EA Area Youth Worker and Christopher Mason, EA Senior Youth Worker.
Youth projects registered by Eligible Education Authorities (EAs) will be encouraged to purchase IT equipment to improve communications between youth workers and targeted programs helping the most vulnerable and at-risk children and young people.
Welcoming the investment, the Minister said:
“This new £1million funding will ensure the youth voluntary sector is better able to deliver online and blended services to vulnerable and at-risk children and young people across Northern Ireland.
“I welcome this investment, which is a direct response to the challenges faced by many youth volunteer groups as they seek to interact effectively online with the children and young people they work with.
“Increasing the IT capacity of the voluntary youth sector will help to support the contacts and relationships that exist between youth workers and young people. This is by ensuring that our most vulnerable young people continue to have that connection to vital youth services, as well as by facilitating more streamlined online reporting for frontline youth workers.
The Education Authority Youth Service will act as the implementing agent for the program.
The Minister continued:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a gap in IT infrastructure within the Youth Voluntary Service, which has negatively impacted its ability to deliver digital youth work and other online services. line.
“I encourage all voluntary organizations in the youth sector, which are eligible, to apply for funding.”
Criteria and information on how to apply for funding can be found on the EA website – https://www.eani.org.uk
Notes to Editors:
- Photo caption: Minister for Education, Michelle McIlveen, launches EA’s voluntary youth IT capacity building program with Jo Venus, EA Area Youth Worker and Christopher Mason, EA Senior Youth Worker.
- The targeted offer for young people aims to help meet the needs of young people within Article 75 groups or who may be at greater risk of social exclusion, marginalization or isolation because they encounter a combination barriers to learning. It is expected that up to 105 projects targeting the most vulnerable and at-risk young people will be eligible.
- Blended services involve a combination of face-to-face and online delivery. At the discretion of the applicant organisation, items may be loaned by projects to young people registered with them to enable the provision of online support.
- The School Authority will administer the funding that will cover the cost of purchasing the digital devices. Other associated costs (eg internet access, maintenance, repairs, software licenses, etc.) will be borne by the applicant organisation.
- Eligible items must be between £200 (minimum level) and £1,200 (maximum level) to ensure that the equipment purchased is of an appropriate specification to meet the service delivery requirement. There will be an upper limit per project of £15,000 to ensure that as many voluntary youth organizations as possible can benefit. Equipment must be purchased and received by March 31, 2022.
- Existing workforce development plans support this program and will ensure that youth workers have the skills needed to maximize return on investment.
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