Hair and Beauty Learner Ciara represents local council at European Exchange debate in Poland
Springvale’s Hair and Beauty learner Ciara Gaffney recently visited Poland to represent the Antrim/Newtownabbey Borough Council as part of the European programme, ‘Rybnik Days – the Future of Europe’.
Ciara was part of a group that travelled to Rybnik, Poland, and spent 4 days debating topics that affect the future of Europe, including Brexit and Immigration, as well as discussing the various cultural concepts and views on these matters.
Ciara became involved in lobbying at the age of 15 after local charity EXTERN introduced her to the world of debating and voicing the concerns of young people to the Government. She soon became a member of the NEET Youth Forum in 2013.
Ciara’s passion for representing young people is a result of her own experiences after receiving a knock in confidence during her own educational journey. Ciara realised that if she could have her voice heard then she would be able to help others and has proactively assisted the Department for the Economy in vital research understanding why a percentage of young people in Northern Ireland feel that the education system has failed them and what needs to change to improve young people’s experiences.
Ciara speaks of her time in Poland, ‘Being picked to travel to Poland was an amazing experience for me and it was very interesting to meet people from my district council’s twin towns in Germany and Poland. The experience that I have gained through the NEET Youth Forum has given me the confidence and drive to continue with my interest in having young people’s voices heard.’
Ciara has been involved in several forums and committees including the NEET Youth Forum and NEET Advisory Group, as well as having presented evidence to the Committee for Employment and Learning at Stormont in 2015. She has also met with NI MEPs in Brussels and represented Northern Ireland at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Paris in December 2016. She continues to sit on the Open Government Network NI Steering Committee.
Ciara plans to continue her studies at Springvale Learning and looks forward to completing her Level 2 Hair and Beauty training, ‘I have enjoyed my time at Springvale and look forward to completing my level 2. The skills I have learned here will be instrumental throughout my life as they have given me the confidence to speak to people and communicate effectively with clients, students and tutors.’
Ciara’s Hairdressing Tutor Regina McCrarren beams with delights, ‘We are extremely proud of Ciara here at Springvale. We have watched Ciara grow in confidence over the years and we can see how important it is to her to make a difference and ensure that young people have a solid future in education and training.’
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July 28th, 2017