VIDEO: Cork People Offered Free Training

2 September 2019
By Mary Bermingham

What is NLN? it provides a range of flexible training courses and support services for people who need specialist support (job seekers, unemployed, people with an illness or disability). The SOLAS courses and HSE programmes, with work experience, offer nationally recognised qualifications including QQI, ECDL, and City and Guilds.

How does it help individuals?
Spotlight on the Focus Programme Cork City

“Before starting the Focus Programme, I was full of fear, anxiety and depression. As the year went on I got my confidence back, was stress-free and became much more sociable with the wider community. This was all thanks to the staff, who were more than helpful on every given occasion and the level of support was outstanding. I would 100% recommend anybody who wants or is thinking of joining the programme to do so as it can be life-changing”

The above is a testimonial from a current student who is due to complete the Focus Programme at National Learning Network, Penrose Wharf, Cork City this September. The Focus Programme is a community-based wellness and personal development training programme. It is a year-long, free and students can retain their current social welfare payments.

The 2006 ‘A Vision for Change’ HSE strategy document set out the future for Mental Health Services in Ireland and what these services could look like. With this in mind, NLN, together with the HSE Mental Health Services in Cork, developed a programme for people who have had a mental health setback and are looking to get back on their feet.

The programme is informed by the Recovery Model approach to mental health that is both holistic and person-centered. During the course, students are supported to gain the confidence, knowledge and skills to take control over their futures, to increase social participation and to progress onto employment, further training or education. In short, whatever outcome is right for each student- this is the essence of recovery in mental health and the goal of the programme.

Instructors, work individually with students to assist them in developing their action plans and achieve their goals. Many subjects are covered on the programme for example, the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ element of the course includes mental health management, stress/tension management, healthy lifestyles, assertiveness, creative skills and WRAP (Wellness and Recovery Action Planning) is delivered as a key recovery tool in the programme.

Ultimately the Focus programme can provide the building blocks for emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. These are outcomes that can be sustained after the programme and throughout a person’s life.

As one student said this year “this course has helped with my anxiety, I have somewhere to go every day and have made friends. I am less inhibited socially now”.

How to apply?

The Cork City Focus Programme 2019 to 2020 starting in October is now open for applications, to apply, or simply get some more information please contact course instructors on 087 667 4282 or 021 450 9021 or the Area Manager on 021 430 0144.

The National Learning Network also runs the programme in a number of other locations in Cork, such as Midleton, Carrigaline, Clonakility, and a sister programme in Mallow. For information on many other National Learning Network free courses for people who face different challenges in their lives check out

Above: A piece of art completed by National Learning Network students during workshops at the Glucksman Gallery, currently on exhibit until the 8th of September 2019 at the Glucksman Gallery UCC.

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