Youth work is a core element of BCSDN’s mission and young people’s programmes provide the foundation for this, such as the Sheer SKILL Programme. The aim of this scheme is to use sports as a medium through which young people can create better links and relationships with other communities, while creating a platform for their future goals.
The Sheer Skill programme has operated successfully for ten years now and is open to young people from all over Belfast. The programme has been divided into three elements this year; Sheer Skill Schools Programme, Sheer Skill Community Programme and the Sheer Skill Club Programme. Currently in the Schools programme BCSDN have over 60 students taking part in the 15 week programme. The schools currently involved include Girls Model, Trinity College and Boys Model. These young people have actively engaged in leadership training, good relations workshops, coaching qualifications and more. Throughout the past number of years it has offered young people valuable and practical work experience in a safe and fun environment with the opportunity to enhance their CVs. One of the legacies of this project has been that a number of past Sheer SKILL graduates have been employed by BCSDN and availed of volunteering opportunities with the company.
This programme strongly supports cross- community relations and develops pupil’s interpersonal and leadership skills. Sheer Skill provides opportunities for young to connect, gain new qualifications and practical experience that can enhance their choices. The previous success of the programme is evident in the number of young people that have gone on to 3rd level education and undertaken higher level coaching courses as a result. It is a fantastic stepping stone for young adults into their future careers and allows them the opportunity to create lifelong friendships and relationships with other young people from different communities.