Goodbyes and new beginnings from the 'Gateway to Employment' Project
Today was a special day for the women who are moving on from Nasc’s Gateway to Employment Refugee Women’s Project. The Gateway project works with refugee women, particularly those who may feel isolated and are at risk of exclusion. The project, which provides intensive English language provision, mentoring and job-skills to the participants began in 2018. Gateway is funded by the Government with the support of the Dormant Accounts Fund.
There was an informal graduation celebration today for the women moving on to college places. Of the women moving on from the course, almost all are moving onto further education. Nine of the women have been accepted onto college courses and four women are beginning courses with Lantern Community Project.
Claire Mackey, the Gateway Project Co-Ordinator, said that she was incredibly proud of the achievements of all of the participants on the projects.
“These are exceptional women; they have a huge drive to learn. Despite the trauma they have experienced, they are all determined to do everything in their power to find their place in Ireland. A huge part of that is gaining the language skills to be able to communicate freely and to find work.”
There has been an overwhelming demand for admission to the project and we expect to enrol ten new participants next week. Even with ten new places becoming available, there is still a waiting list of women who are eager to join.
“The social aspect of the programme has been incredibly valuable. The participants have become a family of their own. You have women of five nationalities coming together today to celebrate those who are leaving the project but also to show solidarity with the participants who is celebrating Ethiopian New Year. The women want to share their cultures, their food and their successes with each other. We wish everyone who has graduated from the project today the very best of luck.”
The success of the course is also due to the staff and volunteers on the project. Claire Mackey, the Project Coordinator, is assisted by Kiren Khalid, Mary-Anne Oke and Claire Noonan.
Nasc would like to particularly thank Claire Noonan who has just finished her time with the project. Claire had been volunteering as an English teacher for the past 4 months. Claire is a hugely experienced teacher and her contribution to the project has been immense. We’re going to miss her hugely and we can’t thank her enough for everything she has done.
We'd also like to thank our wonderful neighbours, Teen Parents Support Programme, for being so generous with their space and for facilitating the classes.