Comedian and MMA fighter sign up to Army pilot scheme
A mixed martial arts fighter and a stand-up comedian are among the unemployed young people taking part in a new Defence Forces pilot scheme.
Seventeen young men and eight young women from North Dublin and Drogheda are participating in a 10-week live-in course at Gormanston Military Camp in Co Meath.
The Defence Force's Employment Support Scheme was set up on a pilot basis as part of the Programme for Government and White Paper on defence.
Adam Caffrey (22) from Rush, Co Dublin, has trained as a mixed martial arts fighter and hopes to become a personal trainer. "Living and working with 24 other people was a great experience," he said.
Lieutenant Grainne Keneally (28), a former secondary school teacher who is military supervisor of the course, praised the group, which has "some real leaders coming to the fore".
Teamwork, self-discipline, reliability, and presentation skills are all enhanced on the course to better equip young people in their job searches, she said. The scheme targeted 18-24-year-olds on the live register and was developed through the Defence Forces, the Department of Social Protection and Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board.
Volunteers continue to receive unemployment payments while on the scheme.
The programme provides military-orientated training at the camp and computer training and other educational courses at a centre in Baldoyle, Dublin.
First aid training, outdoor activities, communication skills, lifestyle and wellbeing, and food safety management tuition is also provided.
However, it is not a recruitment pathway into the Army.
Defence Minister Paul Kehoe and Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett met the participants at Gormanston yesterday.