Pioneering non-profit organisations funded to deliver green and digital skills to tackle youth unemployment

An Cosán Adult Education Manager, Adelaide Nic Chárthaigh, and An Cosán Community Education Lead, Debra Crawley, pictured at the AONTAS

Four pioneering non-profit organisations will tackle youth unemployment in Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas under Rethink Ireland’s €763,000 Urban Uplift Fund. The organisations were announced recently and will deliver innovative projects working to increase youth employment and youth employability in the green and digital sectors. The Urban Uplift Fund will support up to 200 marginalised young adults (aged 18-30 years) in learning transformative skills for the green and digital economies, helping to give them back their futures.

The four non-profit organisations announced today under the two-year Urban Uplift Fund are: ECO-UNESCO, delivering employability programmes to young people with a focus on the green sector and sustainable development; An Cosán’s Workability Programme, focused on improving digital skills of women from disadvantaged areas; NOW Employment and Training Services, supporting people with intellectual disabilities into jobs with a future; and Generation Ireland, with a focus on opportunities for young adults in Ireland’s digital and green sectors.

An Cosan Rethink
Carmel Ward (right), who has gained employment since completing An Cosán’s Business Administration with Digital Skills course, pictured with Avril Hannifin, An Cosán’s Digital Learning and Development Officer

With support from JPMorgan Chase, IBM and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Account Fund, Rethink Ireland created the Urban Uplift Fund to address barriers to unemployment. That work begins with these four innovative projects in Dublin that will work to secure employment and/or apprenticeships in the green and/or digital economies for young adults at risk of permanent exclusion and enhance their full participation in society. Rethink Ireland provides cash grants and business supports to charities and social enterprises working in Irish communities across the country.

As part of the Fund, up to 120 marginalised young adults will be empowered into jobs, apprenticeships or work experience programmes, with up to 75 young adults enabled to complete certified training and up to 80 to progress on to further education.

Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD commented: “We are delighted to partner with Rethink Ireland to bring the Urban Uplift Fund to Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas, focusing on the central role of social innovation in sustainable community development. The four pioneering organisations announced today have been awarded to address the serious problem of youth unemployment in our communities based on impactful employment programmes based on upskilling for the green and digital economies. By working with Rethink Ireland we are enabled to support these non-profit organisations as part of the solution.”

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Rethink Ireland said: “Critically, this Fund will empower marginalised young adults who are at risk of permanent exclusion from society by working to remove the persistent barriers to employment that they face. The green and digital sectors are the employers of the future and we are determined that no one will be left behind. The Urban Uplift Fund focuses on providing opportunities in these sectors, making a step change in the right direction for young adults in Dublin’s most marginalised communities.” She added: “Progress made to date on reducing unemployment rates in Ireland has not benefited everyone equally and with the onset and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, these inequalities have only increased. The need for this Fund is great.”

Marc Hussey, Senior Country Officer and Head of Banking in Ireland for J.P. Morgan Bank SE,commented: “Ensuring that young people are equipped with the skills and experiences they need to thrive in the jobs of today and tomorrow is key to creating a more inclusive economy. JPMorgan Chase is committed to addressing barriers to opportunity and economic mobility, and we’re thrilled to partner with Rethink Ireland in these efforts.”

Deborah Threadgold, IBM Ireland Country General Manager, commented: “IBM is proud to support the Urban Uplift Fund to help marginalised youth reach their potential. Supporting people through training and development has always been at heart of everything we do in the local community and part of our commitment to help upskill 30 million people globally by 2030.Participating in programmes like this and getting access to resources like SkillsBuild not only enables these young people to develop the skills needed by the digital and green sectors in Ireland, but also opens up new pathways to career opportunities, now and into the future.”

Heydi Foster, CEO, An Cosán added “We welcome the support and the recognition by Rethink Ireland of the value of our WorkAbility programme, which addresses issues of low levels of education and employment of women living in Tallaght West, Cherry Orchard / Ballyfermot and Dublin’s south inner city. Following on from the success of our Business Administration with Digital Skills programme, which helped learners across Ireland gain sustainable employment, we look forward to continuing to provide transferable skills for through our WorkAbility programme. As Ireland’s largest community education organisation, An Cosán has empowered over 20,000 adult learners since 1986. Our unique holistic approach, which encompasses career coaching, early years’ education, family support, and one-to-one mentoring and counselling, ensures that learners are supported to achieve their education goals and to go on to secure better jobs.” 

Pictured: Carmel Ward (right), who has gained employment since completing An Cosán’s Business Administration with Digital Skills course, pictured with Avril Hannifin, An Cosán’s Digital Learning and Development Officer

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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