Education News

Minister Heather Humphreys Announces New Social Enterprise Module for Young People

Image courtesy of Dept. Rural and Community Development

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, in partnership with the youth organisation Foróige, has today (Wednesday, 10 March) announced a Social Enterprise Module which will be availed of by thousands of young people across the country.

Social Enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve the lives of people. Their core objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact. Like other businesses, Social Enterprises pursue their objectives by trading in goods and services on an ongoing basis. However, surpluses generated by social enterprises are re-invested into achieving their core social objectives.

They frequently work to support disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, the Traveller community, etc., or to address issues such as food poverty, social housing, or environmental matters.

Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 was launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development on 18 July 2019, with the objective of creating an enabling environment for social enterprise to grow and contribute more fully to Ireland’s social and economic progress.

The Policy is focused on three main objectives:

1. Building Awareness of Social Enterprise

2. Growing and Strengthening Social Enterprise

3. Achieving Better Policy Alignment

The module, introduced as part of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Programme, will be primarily taught in DEIS schools.

The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) has provided €30,000 to support the roll-out of the initiative.

It’s envisaged that approximately 120 teachers will be involved in its delivery.

Announcing the programme today, Minister Humphreys said:

“This module is a fantastic opportunity to teach young people about the positive impact Social Enterprise has across the country.”

“Social enterprises are businesses that work primarily to improve the lives of people and to better their communities.”

“I am delighted that my Department is working closely with Foróige to roll out this initiative, which will be availed of by thousands of young people in the coming months.”

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a youth entrepreneurship education and development programme, managed and provided by Foróige in Ireland.

About Foróige

Foróige is a voluntary national youth organisation working in Ireland since 1952 to enable young people to involve themselves consciously and actively in their development and in the development of society.

Foróige work with over 50,000 young people aged 10-18 each year through volunteer-led Clubs and staff-led Youth Projects. Foróige currently operates in 26 counties in Ireland, with more than 600 Foróige Clubs, 150 Youth Projects. They deliver a number of programmes including the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programme, the Foróige NFTE Youth Entrepreneurship programme, the Foróige Youth Citizenship programme, and Leadership for Life programme.

This project is in line with a number of commitments in the National Social Enterprise Policy which seeks to develop social enterprise in Ireland. DRCD is working to include social enterprise modules in all levels of education and training, and this module supports social enterprise initiation through a targeted initiative for young people.

The Minister continued:

“Ireland’s recovery must be an inclusive and sustainable one as we work to repair both our society and economy post COVID-19.”

“Our young people are as well-placed as anyone to further build on our Social Enterprise success to date.”

“By taking part in the Social Enterprise module, they can help shape a just and sustainable future for all our communities.”

Seán Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Foróige said:

“Foróige is delighted to partner with the Department of Rural and Community Development to give young people an opportunity to learn first-hand about the concept, methods and values of social entrepreneurship.”

“Young people are particularly socially driven and this initiative will enable them to become entrepreneurs for change, bringing together the business and life skills they learn through Foróige’s NFTE programme with their innate desire to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.”

Mr Campbell added:

“As an organisation we are very happy to be working on a programme that supports the achievement of the objectives of the National Social Enterprise Policy and gives young people an opportunity to play their part in strengthening social enterprise in Ireland.”

Ultimately the Social Enterprise Module is an opportunity to encourage more young people to participate in Social Enterprise. This will add value and enhance the NFTE programme and can have a cascading impact that will positively affect the participants, their community, and society as a whole.

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