July 21, 2023 | Case Study

ATU Connect Programme and MyCareerPath

ATU MyCareerPath and ATU Connect Programme
Industry: Further Education, Secondary Education, Youth Groups
Keywords: Underrepresented Youth, Strengths PATH, Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS), PATH 3, Youthreach, Foroige, Strengths

What We Did

After consulting with schools and the youth groups leaders, students attended a workshop to discuss the Strengths PATH programme and were invited to complete the online psychometric tool (Cappfinity Strengths Profile) to identify their individual strengths. The programme activities were self-directed and students had the option to complete them either at school or at home.

One-on-one meetings were conducted with students to debrief them on their results from the Strengths Profile reports, which included a careers report highlighting potential career interests and how they align with their strengths the results from the interactive online Strengths Profile to inform their search for courses within ATU.

 

Outcomes

The aim of the programme was to demonstrate to students their unique abilities and strengths that they are sometimes unaware of. The programme assisted them in using this information to reflect on potential careers that could align with their strengths. The Strengths Profile utilises positive psychology to highlight individuals’ unique strengths and enhance their self-confidence.

This programme helped ATU build relationships with schools, youth organisations and the young people involved. Students gained confidence in understanding their strengths and discovered pathways to college they had not previously considered, all while continuously increasing their levels of self-awareness.

Summary

The ‘Strengths PATH’ programme is a blended online digital programme for pre-entry underrepresented young people, created by the team at ATU MyCareerPath. The programme incorporates activities and information on completing and understanding the online strengths profile assessment tool, assisting them in identifying possible careers and courses within ATU. This innovative online programme is useful for work with underrepresented youth groups as it builds confidence in students’ abilities and capabilities, encouraging participants to realise their potential.

MyCareerPath collaborated with the ATU Connect Project to provide the Strengths PATH programme to secondary school students & early school leavers. Students attended workshops to discuss the programme and then completed their Strength Profiles online. One-to-one meetings were arranged for students to analyse their results and link their strengths to suitable third level courses.

Step 1

Idea

Supporting the retention of students in schools leading to progression and access into Higher Education.
Step 2

Process

A four stage Strengths PATH Programme.
Step 3

Goal

Understanding the strengths of the learners and linking to HE courses.

Input

Background

The ATU Connect project is linked to the Access and Participation office at ATU Galway-Mayo. The project is funded under PATH 3 (Programme for Access to Higher Education). The project engages with secondary schools, further education colleges and communities to run a variety of activities and supports to help individuals gain access to, and succeed in, higher education.

The Strengths PATH Programme is an innovative online development resource for pre-entry young learners, designed to help them identify possible careers and courses within ATU.

It is an easy-to-navigate interactive learning programme that includes an effective psychometric strengths assessment and individualised career reports which allows learners to reflect on their own individual strengths. As an online resource, it allows for remote access, giving learners time to self-reflect.

The Strengths PATH programme was offered to students in four DEIS secondary schools across Galway city and county, Youthreach and to young people involved in Foróige’s Big Brother Big Sister programme.

Output from the Process

Employee Career Development Plan

  • Improved self-confidence amongst participants as it highlighted their key strengths
  • Reassurance to participants on what their strengths were
  • Building relationships between participants and the ATU access coordinator
  • Removed potential barriers in progressing to Higher Education
  • Eliminating the intimidation factor of Higher Education
  • Awareness of financial, and student supports in college
  • Increased confidence in their ability to progress into Higher Education
  • More awareness of further education options and the application processes involved
  • Increased knowledge of ATU courses and career options

Testimonials

Quote from Foroige Young Person

“I found the Strengths Profile very interesting and helpful. The profile was very detailed and gave me a better understanding of myself and made me reflect on areas I wouldn’t have previously. The programme helped me to identify different pathways and I have recently got accepted to do a level 5 business course in GTI in September.”

Quote from Guidance Counsellor

“I feel that it has given them more confidence & are now exploring different courses/careers, based on their capabilities/interests & not what is expected of them.”

180

Students Completed the Programme

115

through Youth Organisations

65

through the ATU Access Office