WIT team develops app in collaboration with Welsh colleges to help young people get work

seanlyons1

Pictured mCommunity project leader Sean Lyons

Software developers at Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) have teamed up with two colleges in Wales to develop a new mobile app to help at-risk teenagers get work.

The mCommunity app for teaching and learning has been trialed in Pembrokeshire College and Gower College Swansea where nearly 60pc and 40pc of young people using it went on to secure work respectively.

Previously, only about 6pc of those in traditional training at both universities went on to get work.

mCommunity is an Interreg project part‐funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland -Wales Programme 2007‐13.

“We’ve used this technology to engage with disenfranchised individuals and integrate them back into education, training and employment,” said project leader Sean Lyons.

“It has worked in Wales; we’re using it here in Waterford and Dublin to great effect.

“The trial groups in Pembrokeshire College and Swansea College are from families where their parents, grandparents even, have never worked. Others who tried to engage with them found they had literacy and numeracy problems and gave up at the first opportunity. But the very same group all readily used hand-held devices.”

All tutors using mCommunity set their own targets and can monitor their students remotely, giving them a little encouragement as necessary. Their progress can be monitored on a one-to-one or group basis and the content is easily managed and changed.

Lyons said the small business sector is also adopting the mCommunity app, using it to monitor their employees’ progress in areas such as on-the-job training and new workforce legislation.