Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan T.D., today officially launched a new employment and boat building initiative for unemployed young people which is an initiative by Scouting Ireland with Limerick City Build. Over the next three years 48 trainees aged between 18-25 years of age will receive FETAC accredited skills training as they learn to build a fleet of 'Lelievlet' sailing boats to be used by Scouting Ireland in the development of water based scouting activities throughout Ireland.
The Lelievlet is the standard steel sailing and rowing boat used by Sea Scouts in the Netherlands and in 1998 four such boats were imported to Ireland by Scouting Ireland for use at the National Water Activities Centre in Killaloe. The boat's name is derived from the international Scout logo, the Scout Fleur de Lis. Scouting Ireland is delighted to have obtained a license from their Dutch Scouting colleagues to build the boats in Ireland, and to have developed this training programme in partnership with Limerick City Build.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Noonan said; "Limerick has a proud maritime tradition and in the past few years we have seen a revival of boat building projects within our city. This new project is a valuable addition to the practical training schemes tackling youth unemployment in our city. Not only will it provide trainees with practical skills, but it will also provide a foundation for new leisure and tourism opportunities on the River Shannon. The Shannon is secret jewel of Limerick. I want to congratulate Scouting Ireland and Limerick City Build and I wish the project every success."
Chief Scout Michael John Shinnick explained, "This programme will provide participating young people with practical skills such as metal fabrication, welding, computer skills as well as important life skills based on the Scout programme to provide them with opportunities for future employment. Life skills commonly referred to as 21st Century Learning skills including team work, leadership, personal responsibility, communication skills and problem solving are extremely valuable in the employment market and will be integral to the training".
He added, "We are running this employment initiative in conjunction with Limerick City Build in response to the national challenge of youth unemployment. We hope to help tackle youth unemployment in Limerick while creating water based tourism opportunities and Scouting opportunities in Limerick City and on the entire Shannon waterway from Limerick to the Cavan."
"Social Entrepreneur and head of Limerick City Build, Ray O'Halloran said, "40 boats will be built over the next three years by Lelievlet trainees. Practical skills will be developed during the programme but more importantly it will give trainees confidence and an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of seeing the output of their labour. The combination of personal confidence and practical experience will be invaluable in supporting their entry to full time employment or in continuing to further education."
Scouting Ireland is growing rapidly with has a proven method and programme for the development of young people and with 48,000 members in Ireland is more relevant today than ever before. It has a policy of out-reach and involvement with all young people and an excellent track record in developing active citizens with valuable leadership, life and social skills that appeal to employers.