The LIFE (Leading into Further Education) Project was developed as a pilot project with the aim of supporting young people with intellectual disabilities to make the transition from mainstream second level education provision to further education and training. It is a two year BTEI programme for adults 18-25 with mild to moderate Intellectual Disabilities and/ or with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
The first programme took place between September 2007 and May 2009 as a partnership venture between the HSE, Dun Laoghaire VEC and Carmona Services. Subsequently, STEP joined the partnership for the following programme cycle (2009- 2011). Currently commencing into its fifth cycle (2015-2017), the LIFE project is an innovative educational model that provides access to further education for young individuals with intellectual disabilities.
The LIFE project was developed in response to an identified gap in provision for learners with intellectual disabilities leaving mainstream second level school. The Disability Act (2005) provided a statute-based right for people with disabilities to their educational needs and provisions met. The EU Memorandum on Lifelong Learning (2000) emphasised that learning opportunities should be available to all individuals, suitable to their needs and interests at all stages of their life.
Learners have the opportunity to:
• Achieve QQI certification at Level 2/3/4;
• Participate in a further education programme in a mainstream environment;
• Develop a greater level of independence, self confidence and personal effectiveness;
• Gain insight into future educational, vocational and life-style options;
• Engage in learning experience-either formal or informal ;
• Work independently to achieve educational outcomes;
• Demonstrate Self-advocacy skills;
• Display improved ability in core skills in literacy and numeracy;
• Experience achievements and learning relevant to a variety of progression routes.
As a Nationwide Winner in 2009 of the AONTAS Star Award, the merits of this programme were acknowledged with regard to meeting further education, training and employment needs for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
If you would like more information please call Kathleen Deasey on (01) 2365316.