I am a 3rd year Child and Youth Care student studying at Loyalist College in Belleville Ontario Canada. I have previously graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario Canada with a Bachelor of Honours in Sociology. In September 2017 I am making the move from Ontario to Cork, Ireland. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for working in the Child and Youth Care field in Ireland.
Firstly welcome (in advance) to Ireland. Cork is a beautiful part of the country and I'm sure you will be very happy there.
In Ireland Child and Youth Care is divided across two disciplines. Community youth work is a branch of community development. The aim of the work is to empower and support young people who are socially disadvantaged, with a view to achieving social justice and equality of opportunity. Youth workers operate from a community development perspective and tend to work mostly with groups.
Social care is a generic discipline that evolved out of residential child care. An individual with a social care qualification can work in any area of practice from residential care, to homelessness to intellectual or physical disability. Social care is in the process of being statutorily regulated in Ireland and it will soon be the case that the title Social Care Worker will be protected in law, but that is not yet the case. Social care workers also work in community youth work. We have never really had the debate to identify exactly what the similarities and differences are between the two disciplines but I expect that will be tidied up by the social care registration board, whenever that is established.
Irish residential child care is divided between the state services, private voluntary and private for profit services. The general trend in recent years is toward a reduction of state services and a move to privatization of service provision. That is not surprising, given that we have a center-right Government and will have for the foreseeable future.
If you want to work in residential child care in Ireland you will need to complete a course in managing aggression. Most services still use TCI but that is changing. You will also need a manual handling cert, a first aid cert and hepatitis vaccinations. It is easy enough to get all of these but it will cost you about €500 in total so you should prepare for that. Some agencies will cover these costs but the private for profit ones will not. Hepatitis shots take a few months to get all three so you should try to get those before you arrive in Ireland if you haven't already done so. Bring proof that you have got them.
The two main agencies that employ social care workers are CPL health care and TTM recruitment. Activelink.ie is also a useful site to look for jobs and get a sense of what is out there. I suggest that you start looking for jobs now and DO NOT jump on the first one that comes along. Notice the services that are always looking for staff and ask yourself why that is. Be guided by your own internal wisdom!!!!
I lecture in social care at WIT in Waterford. that is about 90 minutes drive from Cork. If I can be of any help to you when you get here please give me a call and I would be happy to meet you.
With very best wishes,
I forgot to mention that you will also need police clearance from Canada. You will not get a job in Ireland without a statement from the police in any country that you have lived in for more than a few months, saying whether you have any convictions or not. You should get that before you arrive in Ireland as it can be a very time consuming process to complete retrospectively.