Ireland Participant Program

2000 - 2014


The AWARE Society is a non-profit organization, founded in 1976, that provides employment programs in Surrey – Newton/Cloverdale, New Westminster, Burnaby.  

The Springboard Foundation

Springboard is a cross community, cross border organization established in 1992 ‘to build the capacity’ of young people and their communities by providing skills and personal development opportunities within a local and international context. Target areas are working class communities in Belfast and Dublin that have suffered high levels of deprivation in many aspects of life. 

Springboard’s broad aims are to provide opportunities for young people from the target areas to develop vocational and personal skills; to promote international awareness and exchange; to support understanding, discussion and collaboration across communities and encourage civic leadership within our society. Springboard’s programs have had exceptional outcomes with not only 90% entering employment or further education / training but also with many former participants seeking an increased role in regeneration and development across their communities.


Funding for this project was provided by the International Fund for Ireland.  The Irish and British Governments established the IFA in 1986 with two main aims: ‘To promote social and economic advance and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists and unionists on the island of Ireland’. An independent board, consisting of seven members appointed jointly by both Governments directs the work of the International Fund.

The monies to enable the Fund to pursue its objectives were provided by the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The IFI was required to spend approximately three-quarters of its resources in Northern Ireland and one quarter in the Southern border counties (Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth). The Fund operated a range of programs and the bulk of its resources were directed towards projects in disadvantaged areas. Priority was given to cross-community projects and initiatives which foster cross-border co-operation. Reconciliation and the improvement of community relations were central to the Fund’s work.


The trainees were selected for their interest in media-related occupations.  This program is a bridge to further education and training. For beginners in the field the work placement was about exposure to media-related occupations.  With professional advice and guidance from their host employer, trainees were taught how to access media work.

For those trainees with media-related skills the work placement the program will provide an opportunity to put skills into practice, and exposed them to the practicalities of the workplace.  It also provided an excellent opportunity to add to portfolios, CVs and industry-based contacts.  

The trainees were between 18 – 29 years old with 21 participants in each group.  

Thus, the project was a huge success leaving the AWARE Society eager to partner with further international projects.