The innovative delivery methodology employed in this programme challenges participants through in-depth personal development and exploration activities. It includes a combination of residential events and one-to-one mentoring sessions aimed at keeping young people engaged with training through improving self-confidence and respect for others, and empowering them to make positive choices for their futures.
The cross-community nature of the Programme provides participants with an opportunity - for some, for the first time in their lives - to meet and mix with other young people from different community backgrounds. 123 young people, aged 16-18 from throughout Northern Ireland participated in the GRIT Programme from April 2008 to March 2010.
A post-programme evaluation demonstrated very positive and encouraging results. For example: 89% of participants remained in training, 90% reported increased self-confidence, and 94% indicated that as a direct result of the Programme they had a greater respect for others.
Eireann Nugent was one of those young people chosen to take part and explained the impact the GRIT Programme has had on her life.
“Before joining the Programme I was in with the wrong crowd, I was abusing drugs and family life wasn’t good, I really did feel I was down in the gutter.
“When I got picked for the Programme it was brilliant. I’m not a bit shy and I was really looking forward to the 5-day residential and bonded really well with other members of the group.
“We packed so much in during the week, including hiking, canoeing, bush craft skills, abseiling and go-karting. We also took part in peace and reconciliation workshops but I think the pinnacle for me was climbing the mountain - when I got to the top I was in my element and I didn’t want to go home!
“The Programme is a once in a lifetime opportunity which has changed my approach and attitude. I’m now studying catering which I’ve discovered I’ve got a great aptitude for and I’ve discovered I’m a good communicator. I’ve got full attendance at college, I’m punctual and I’m hoping to carve myself a career as a counsellor or youth worker. I’ve also picked up the training and boxing I used to be involved in and I’ve got my first fight in the ring next week.”