Darren Curtis

Locality Development Officer
Southern area, Northern Ireland
Higher Diploma in Community and Youth Work

There were many highlights to my year at Maynooth. My cohort had vast experience of youth and community work already and we were able to learn from each other as well as being taught and mentored by the excellent staff team. We carried out study visits across Ireland and learnt of the fantastic work carried out on the island. We were encouraged to take more responsibility and were involved in shaping our learning, bringing the group even closer together.  One standout highlight was taking part in a trip to Denmark under the Erasmus programme which brought together students from Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and Sweden to discuss youth employment and share our cultures collectively. A fantastic opportunity to learn about youth support in other countries.

Not formally involved with any sports clubs however four of us formed our own Pitch & Putt society on a course close to the Uni and enjoyed many a relaxing round during the year!

The sense of history and rich learning culture. The approach by staff to encourage and motivate us as a smaller group, the genuine interest taken in us as potential practitioners in our chosen field.

To have the confidence in what I do for my job, to always try to learn and understand where those with whom we work are "at", to make sure there is always a fun aspect to learning, to celebrate diversity and to support your peers. Also to look further afield in order to maximise my learning.

Do it: it's a unique setting, beautiful surroundings and relaxed atmosphere while producing highly skilled graduates.

The most interesting is the range of services and organisations working in this field, and trying to link them further to improve partnership working.  The creativity in the voluntary and community sector is fantastic in addressing really critical issues with their children, young people and families.  The potential for further work based on taking positive risk and building on the idewas crated by children and young people.

Most challenging is the lack of investment into early intervention services which means support is limited to a higher threshold of need.  Some services have a more positive approach to partnership working than others and in most other jobs, some people are happier to talk than to act!