Early School Leavers

Youthreach is the Department of Further and Higher Education’s official education, training and work experience programme for young people who have left school early. Its aim is to develop the core skills needed for further learning and to prepare young people to progress to further education/training or to employment. In Co Donegal the programme is managed by Donegal ETB. There are six centres across the county in Ballyshannon, Buncrana, Glengad, Gort an Choirce, Letterkenny and Lifford.

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Who can take part in Youthreach?

The Youthreach programme is for young people aged 16-20 years who have left school early and have obtained little or no qualifications.

What courses are available in Youthreach?

Youthreach offers young people a wide range of learning and training opportunities. A range of national Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) awards are provided including Levels 1 or 2 General Learning, Level 3 Employability Skills and Level 4 General Learning. Subjects, varying from centre to centre, include art and craft, catering, computers, childcare, hairdressing, health and fitness, literacy, numeracy, office skills, outdoor pursuits, personal development, woodcraft and many more. Work experience is also an important part of the Youthreach programme. Other qualifications include basic food hygiene, ECDL, First Aid and Gaisce Awards.

Centres also provide an extensive health promotion programme covering areas such as positive mental health, sexual health, alcohol and drugs, road safety, citizenship and money management. Fun is also an important part of Youthreach and regular trips and events such as an annual county-wide table quiz, masterchef, pool, bowling and football competitions also take place throughout the year.

What are the progression options after completing Youthreach?

Once you’ve completed a Youthreach programme you can progress to employment or other further education opportunities – our career Advocates will help you on your way.

What will a Youthreach course cost?

There are no costs for participating in a Youthreach programme.

Will I be paid while attending a Youthreach course?

While attending a Youthreach programme you will receive a weekly training allowance (currently €45 per week for those aged 16 and 17 years and €232 per week for those aged 18+ years), a meal allowance and a travel allowance if applicable. Youthreach is a full-time, two year programme.

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Youthreach is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.

Student Stories

Read Jasmine’s Youthreach story.

Read Jessica and Callum’s Youthreach stories.

Read Carmel’s Youthreach story.


Complete Enquiry Form

You can apply for Youthreach at any time of the year. For further information contact your nearest Youthreach Centre listed below, complete the Enquiry Form above or download this information brochure

Contact Details 

Acting Youthreach Coordinator   
Pernille Burns 
Tel: 071 9851286 / 086 191 3354

Youthreach Coordinator                           
Jayne O’Donnell
Tel: 074 9362626 / 086 851 9942

Ghort an Choirce 
Youthreach Coordinator   
Caitriona Cullen
Tel: 074 9135218 / 087 374 2762

Acting Youthreach Coordinator 
Gillian Kennedy
Tel: 074 9122585 / 086 820 1727

Acting Youthreach Coordinator 
Aidan Callaghan
Tel: 074 9142114 / 087 653 6249