A fun, engaging, flexible and scalable innovation programme that is team-based, youth-led and action-focussed aligned to curricula and learning outcomes at Senior Cycle.
Teenagers between 15-18 years of age in second-level schools, Youthreach Centres or youth organisations
About the Programme
Students and educators alike can expect to go on an interesting journey through this engaging and in-depth programme. Working in teams, students explore issues of concern to them (locally, nationally or globally), and take creative and collaborative action on one that they are passionate about. Issues as diverse as climate change, sustainable living, gender equality, mental health, racism, sexual consent, crime, community facilities, and integration are just some of those tackled by thousands of young people each year.
Why do it
This exciting programme provides a unique opportunity to young people to explore and take innovative action on an issue they care about, to engage with their community in new ways and to make a difference in the world around them. Along the way, students are invited to fun and engaging events and are given opportunities and platforms to voice their opinions and ideas for change. Their curiosity, creativity and problem solving talents are enhanced as they develop and implement innovative solutions to social problems facing all of us.
How it's delivered
The programme is facilitated by educators (YSI Guides) who offer encouragement, support and advice to help teams reach their full potential. Supported by teacher training and world class resources, the programme builds resilience and wellbeing and promotes youth participation, youth voice, and community volunteering.
Learning is youth-led and action-based. Participation builds 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and ideation; communication and advocacy, design-thinking and planning; literacy, numeracy and computational skills; teamwork, value-based learning and knowledge around social change, sustainable living, citizenship, social justice and complex social, local and global issues.
"YSI nurtures creativity, it ignites arguments, discussions, emotions and it places the students very much as the designers of their own work. YSI recognises that young people are an untapped force who have ideas and opinions. It encourages the student to be a full participant in their education rather than a passive observer. I have seen more needs of the 21st century learner met though the YSI brief than other curricula."
How it Works
- Teacher registers to take part in the programme
- Teacher invited to attend regional/online training
- Teacher accesses suite of online programme resources
- Students form a team, select an issue they care about and create a social innovation project around it, bringing their ideas to life
- All teams invited to present their projects as part of the YSI Speak Out Tour*
- Teams submit an online project portfolio and receive feedback and certification
- Teams showcase their project locally as part of #YSIWeek sharing their local activities using the #YSIWeek hashtag
- Shortlisted teams invited to compete at the Young Social Innovators Ireland Awards*
* Virtual alternatives will be offered where public health restrictions apply
Integration with curricula
This programme can be facilitated as a stand-alone subject as part of the Transition Year curriculum of Leaving Cert Applied. It can also be facilitated as a module or an extension for subjects including but not limited to:
- Information Technology
- Business Studies
- Politics & Society
It is aligned with the Key Skills and indicators of Wellbeing and with Learning Outcomes for Transition Year and Leaving Cert Applied. Engagement in this programme offers a powerful mechanism for young people to develop skills for life and work; engage with and volunteer in their wider community; and understand the world and their capacity to become agents for change.
Thinking of offering this programme as part of Transition Year?
Download the YSI TU Template here and our new TY Department Plan for 2022/23 here.
Enhancing learner, teacher and school objectives
Participation in this programme enables students to engage purposefully in meaningful learning activities, grow as learners through respectful interactions and experiences, reflect on their progress as young social innovators, and develop a sense of ownership of and responsibility for their learning.
As well as contributing to teacher CPD, the programme also contributes to whole school practice and self-evaluation, including the Looking at Our School Framework.
- Full suite of ready-made online resources, materials and activities to support learning
- Supported with dedicated teacher training (face-to-face and online)
- Student learning across and beyond the curriculum
- Programme aligns with learning outcomes and curriculum links and with Senior Cycle Key Skills
- Students are encouraged to use science, technology, engineering, maths and the arts (STE[A]M)
- Empowers youth voice and wellbeing of students
- Facilitates active engagement of young people in the local community
- Certification for young people on programme completion
Participation in this programme can help your school reach the level of activity required to apply for WWGS's Global Passport Award in many categories. We recommend the YSI Guide works with the teacher in charge of the Global Passport to identify areas of potential collaboration.
Participation in this programme counts towards the Personal Skill and Community Involvement aspect of Gaisce bronze, silver and gold awards.