Citywise seeks votes for Fast Track in the Google awards

By Mary Dennehy

CITYWISE is inviting the public to get behind its mission of supporting young people in reaching and completing third-level education by voting for its Fast Track Academy in the Google Impact Awards.

The Jobstown-based education centre has for the past two years been running the academy, which provides educational and personal supports to young people in local communities.

Citywise and Google young people on Fast Track Academy

Some of the young people in Fast Track Academy helped by Citywise and Google.

The programme delivers classes, mentoring, career guidance and study support to young people in fourth, fifth and sixth year – and is now following students into college with additional supports.

Since starting, the holistic community model is achieving a 70 per cent plus rate in accessing college, with 98 per cent of the 78 Sixth Year students who took part in the academy last year going on to further education.

According to Christopher Smith of Citywise, the Fast Track Academy aims in September 2019 to support 180 secondary school students and 70 students in their first year of college – with Google and the public’s support.

“The Fast Track Academy supports young people with third-level aspirations,” Christopher told The Echo.

“We are now also supporting young people into their first year of college to try and tackle the college drop-out rate.”

According to Christopher, one in four young people drop out of college at TU Dublin–Tallaght Campus – with Citywise striving to offer additional support to first year students struggling to stay in college.

Knowing that support is available will not only help young people to stay in third-level education but will also give them the confidence and reassurance to apply for a place.

Working with TU Dublin–Tallaght campus, Citywise hopes to positively impact on college completion rates.

Citywise was among 15 national organisations shortlisted in the Google Impact Awards, an impressive feat that secures all 15 finalists €50,000.

However, one of the finalists is now in with the chance of doubling their award from €50,000 to €100,000 through a public vote – with Citywise hoping to secure an additional €50,000 so they can invest €100,000 in the students on its Fast Track Academy.

“The young people that take part in the Fast Track Academy work so hard and people would be voting to support them,” Christopher said.

A panel of advisors helped Google select the 15 finalists which, all non-profits, show innovative ideas for growing economic opportunity in Ireland.

Each of the 15 non-profits selected receive €50,000 in grant funding and Google training.

The public voting lines are open until this Tuesday, March 26. Vote at https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/dublin2018.

For further details on Citywise visit www.citywise.ie

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