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Sporting Chance Programme – Ireland

Description the EGP: In April of 2007, National Learning Network, Tralee was recommended for funding of €501,667 under round two of the Enhancing Disability Services programme to run the Sporting Chance Initiative. Funding was provided from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform which is administered through POBAL. Sporting Chance is a ground breaking new training programme to enable people with disabilities to build careers in the sports and leisure industry. These posts could include coaches, leaders, educators and managers. Many students who were coming to the National Learning Network centre in Tralee were identified as having a strong passion and aptitude for sport. The sports and leisure industry, particularly since the establishment of the Irish Sports Council, has undergone an unprecedented expansion. Despite this expansion, many members of society who have a disability have been unable to access sporting facilities and even less likely to undertake training and development programmes leading to career opportunities in this sector. Sporting Chance was specifically developed to assist individuals with disability to gain the qualifications, skills and work experience necessary to obtain employment in the sports and leisure industry. The course would also interest students who wished to access further third level education in this area. The course would be targeted towards individuals with physical and sensory disabilities, intellectual difficulties and those with mental health difficulties. There was far greater demand than supply of places following the development and subsequent marketing of the programme. All courses also include job specific modules plus job seeking skills and work experience. No course fees apply to the training programmes and a training allowance is paid to students. In addition to mainstream qualifications, National Learning Network, Tralee also offers a person-centred approach. Courses are tailored to meet the needs of the individual by means of assessment and discussion. This leads to an Individual Action Plan for each student. Literacy and numeracy classes are also available to students who wish to improve their education skills as required by the course. The centre staff provides training which maximises the benefit to the individual and also helps students obtain employment. The centre staff provides training on areas such as assertiveness training, confidence building and independent living skills as required by the student. Applicants do not require any formal entry requirements. An average of 90 % of National Learning Network students progress to employment, further education or further specialised training.

Where is it provided? The National Learning Network (formerly called NTDI) is Ireland’s largest non-government organisation with more than 50 purpose built training and employment facilities catering for around 4,500 students each year. The organisation offers over 40 different vocational programmes which carry nationally and internationally recognised certification and are designed to lead directly to jobs or progression to further education. National Learning Network, Tralee has been providing vocational training and employment opportunities for people with additional support needs for over 30 years. The centre offers a wide range of training courses.

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Sporting Chance Programme – Ireland

Who is providing this program? The Sporting Chance Programme is provided by the National Learning Network in Tralee Co Kerry Ireland

Local/national/European level of program? The Sporting Chance Programme has a national focus providing people with disabilities throughout Ireland the opportunity to study in Kerry. This is an innovative, cutting edge course which is unique in an international context. 88

Segregate/inclusive setting? The programme is completed at the National Learning Network Tralee Kerry Ireland which is Ireland’s largest non-government organisation with more than 50 purpose built training and employment facilities catering for around 4,500 students each year. While the programme is based at the National Learning Network, a vast majority of the course is completed in an integrated setting with links with National Governing Body of Sport courses and the Institute of Technology Tralee. In addition the students complete relevant work experience related to their area of interest and are supported in obtaining employment opportunities within this area or to support in furthering their education. An example of this is the close partnership with the Institute of Technology Tralee where students have on completion of the sporting chance programme furthered their education within the Health and Leisure Studies at the Institute of Technology Tralee.

What is the target group? The Sporting Chance Programme targets individuals with physical and sensory, intellectual and mental health difficulties.

What is the content of the program?


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Sporting Chance Programme – Ireland

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Sporting Chance Programme – Ireland

Why this EGP is relevant to be included in EUSAPA project? 1. This Sporting Chance Programme at the National Learning Network Tralee Ireland is a unique innovative programme which provides opportunities for people with disabilities who can have the opportunity given appropriate direction and individualised academic and vocational supports, to pursue their chosen career path and achieve their potential in the sports and leisure industry. 2. It describes the importance of training and education courses to encourage and enable people with disabilities to become valued members of the sport and leisure industry profession. 3. It is a good example of the type of course that could be replicated in other areas of Ireland and Europe to encourage and support people with disabilities to obtain a career in the sport and leisure industry 4. As well as the vocational opportunities, there are strong social benefits for the students on the course. 5. It highlights the importance of partnership links between disability services and educational institutions for the design and delivery of such a programme. In particular the links with the Institute of Technology Tralee and Mr. Pat Flanagan APA Coordinator who played an influential role in advising and supporting the developments of the course. Subsequently this partnership has further developed to parts of the programme being facilitated at the Institute of Technology Tralee and students from the programme accessing opportunities to further their education at the Institute. What skills, competences and knowledge are present in this EGP? - Develop and apply a range of skills required to communicate effectively in both professional and personal life. - Demonstrate personal, interpersonal, work related social skills. - Demonstrate the ability to understand the concepts of self-advocacy and understand rights and become more assertive in making personal decisions. - Develop an understanding of the concepts involved in teaching exercise classes such as circuit training, aerobics and stability ball classes. - Partake in outdoor pursuits with a view to developing a career in this area where appropriate. - Develop an understanding of the concepts involved to instructing in a gym. - Experience a wide range of sports and leisure activities. - Demonstrate the benefits of healthy lifestyle and an overall holistic approach to fitness. - Understand the principals of exercise and practically apply them in a sports and fitness setting. - Understand the movement of muscles and bones in the Human Structure. - Understand and demonstrate how to use basic computer applications. - Respond appropriately to first aid requirements. - Understand the importance of customer relations and develop the skills to provide an exceptional standard of customer care in the leisure industry. - Develop basic mathematical skills that can be applied to the leisure/health/sports industry. - Research and identify community based sporting organisations and bodies. - Engage in community based sporting/leisure activities as appropriate. - Decide on specific/elective areas of sporting interest and pursue relevant qualifications/awards in this area. - Implement learned skills in an external real work environment and obtain employer feedback. Further Information Contact Kevin Smith Sporting Chance Coordinator National Learning Network Tralee Co Kerry Ireland- Example of good practice was described by Niamh Daffy from the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Ireland.

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