SVP is Ireland’s largest charity of social concern and action. The Society’s mission is to provide friendship and support to those experiencing poverty and social exclusion, to promote self- sufficiency and to work for social justice.
SVP has long been of the view that education is the ultimate enabler out of poverty and for decades many of its members have, and continues to be, actively involved in supporting people, at all stages of the life cycle, to access education. We therefore welcome the evaluation of Further Education and Training Provision at NFQ Levels 3 & 4, incorporating The Back to Education Initiative.
It is SVP members experience that learners who decide to pursue a Level 3 or Level 4 FET course do so for varied reasons, they may wish to reskill, find employment, gain confidence or pursue higher education opportunities. Often, members report that those learners have overcome substantial barriers from personal and social perspectives to make profound changes in their own lives via the medium of education. They are usually on the margins of education, work and society.
It is important to note that the clients SVP members support back into education are not a homogeneous group. SVP members support lone parent women, Travellers, migrants, young adults, older people living alone and people with a disability or long-term illness. They have usually left school early, and/or working part-time in low -paid or precarious employment, and/or unemployed or have no third level qualifications. They have a range of needs which require a variety of supports in order for them to access education.
Many of them are experiencing some form of discrimination due to negotiating an uncertain transition from school to the world of work or study and victims of multiple structural injustices in terms of their family income, race, gender, and perceived educational achievement.