McDonald’s launches Youth Opportunity Ireland programme providing training and mentorship opportunities to young people

Keith Earls with Lucy Masterson at Moyross Youth Academy

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McDonald’s has today launched its Youth Opportunity Ireland programme, a two-year employment and skills partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation, which will provide €200,000 to youth organisations across Ireland. The programme will enable these youth organisations to deliver specialised training and mentorship opportunities for 2,000 young people by 2023. 

In the first year of the programme, the funding will enable 13 grassroots, community-based youth organisations across Ireland to deliver targeted youth employability programmes. These organisations work directly with young people who are not currently in education, employment or training.

Research by the Irish Youth Foundation has found that 18% of 15 to 24 year-olds are not currently in education, employment or training, while 77% of youth workers believe that support structures are not in place to support vulnerable young people as they transition into employment after a period of unemployment or leaving school early.

The community-focused McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland programme aims to combat this challenge and will support young people between the ages of 15 and 24 nationally, who are experiencing disadvantage in Ireland and empower them with the skills, training and mentorship they need to access the employment market.

The launch was marked with an event at Moyross Youth Academy, Limerick, where McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland ambassador Keith Earls, met with Moyross Youth Academy director Andrew O’Byrne to hear how McDonald’s funding will create employment and training opportunities for young people in the area.

Youth Opportunity Ireland forms part of McDonald’s Ireland’s overall Plan for Change, which sets out ambitious goals and actions across its four key areas – Planet, People, Restaurants and Food – to ensure the business leads positive change from farms to front counter.

Speaking about the McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland programme, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said,

“The last two years have been particularly tough on young people, for many reasons. They’ve missed out on so much to protect public health and keep everyone safe. I welcome this initiative, which will offer 2,000 young people experiencing disadvantage the opportunity to take part in training and mentoring programmes. I wish them the very best of luck with the programme.”

Irish Rugby player and McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland campaign ambassador Keith Earls commented,

“Young people across the country are faced with different challenges and circumstances and not everyone can follow the same path through education into employment. In Moyross, Andrew O’Byrne and the Moyross Youth Academy do incredible work supporting young people. I am honoured to be involved with the McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland programme and looking forward to learning more about the inspirational work that similar organisations are providing across Ireland.”

Aaron Byrne, McDonald’s Ireland franchisee in Galway & Limerick, commented,

“McDonald’s is passionate about providing training and development opportunities to its people. That is why we have established the McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland programme with the Irish Youth Foundation. Over the next two years, funding will be provided to youth organisations to deliver programmes impacting young people from all walks of life, giving them the necessary skills, experience and confidence to enter the jobs market.”

Lucy Masterson, Chief Executive, Irish Youth Foundation said,

“Our research has found that almost one-in-five young people are not currently in education, employment or training. We want to ensure that young people are provided with opportunities to upskill and take advantage of training and mentorship programmes. Through the McDonald’s Youth Opportunity Ireland programme, we will be able to support the work of dedicated youth organisations across the country targeting the most at-risk and hard-to-reach young people.”

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