Waterford youths rewarded for efforts after completing training programmes


Young people from Waterford who have been powerboating, canoeing, rock-climbing, sailing and snorkelling their way to success were rewarded for their endeavours at a ceremony last week.

The British Ambassador to Ireland, Sir Ivor Roberts, was in the city to present certificates to those who completed a series of rigorous training programmes alongside young people from Britain.

Outdoor pursuits were some of the activities covered by the three training programmes organised by the Waterford Youth Committee (WYC) in conjunction with organisations in Wexford and Britain, with the support of the EU.

In the Stepping Stone project, launched in 1997 by the WYC and the Prince's Trust Cymru, unemployed youths from Ireland and Wales worked on a variety of projects including first aid, information technology, outdoor pursuits, social issues, drama, career skills and cookery.

The CELTTS (Celtic Eco-Leisure Training and Tourism) scheme saw 15 Waterford people link up with others from Wexford and Wales wishing to work in the area of outdoor pursuits.

Few of the 30 participants had experience in water-based sports. Now the majority are qualified instructors in a number of water sport disciplines such as sailing, powerboating, canoeing, kayaking, rescue emergency care, and snorkelling.

In the third programme, the Terra Firma project, 10 young people from Waterford and 10 from Wales trained in activities such as mountaineering, orienteering and rock-climbing. All have since attained qualifications in various aspects of adventure sports.

As well as the Prince's Trust, partners in the various projects included Shielbaggan Outdoor Education Centre in Wexford and the Pembrokeshire Watersports Centre in Wales.

The results of the programmes were described as "astonishing" by the chairwoman of Waterford Youth Committee, Fianna Fail city councillor Mary Roche.