Our Work

About the Leadership Programme

This exciting programme enables young people aged 15-18 to develop the skills and qualities necessary to be inspiring leaders. Young people are empowered to make a positive change in their community through practical actions and projects.

There is no doubt that young people need a broad skill set to help them succeed in today’s world. A lot of research shows that employers value soft skills like problem-solving, relationship-building, and the ability to adapt to change. 

Throughout the Leadership for Life programme there is a focus on the acquisition of these skills. The qualities of communication, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving and self awareness are developed in a fun and encouraging environment. The method is ‘learning by doing’. During sessions young people are actively engaged in group activities, but time is also set aside for individual work and reflection. 

As part of module 2 and module 3 there are practical projects. These are opportunities to demonstrate the skills aquired in the programme. During their projects, young people are encouraged to look beyond themselves at their community and wider society.


Leadership for Life was designed using theories and principles of youth work and adolescent development. It was informed by research conducted by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

It was launched in 2009. Since then, over 19000 young people have taken part in the programme and started their own unique leadership journey. It has been running in youth clubs, projects, schools and other youth involving organisations across the country, as well as annually at the Foróige Youth Leadership Conference in Maynooth University.

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Aim & Outcomes 

The programme enables young people to:

  • Identify their strengths 
  • Develop a leadership vision 
  • Understand their leadership style
  • Explore the challenges and difficulties of leadership
  • Develop clear communication skills
  • Explore local, national and global issues
  • Apply methods of conflict resolution
  • Practice problem solving and critical thinking skills as part of a group
  • Identify goals and a vision for their future and develop action plans
  • Complete a project


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Evaluation of the Programme

We conducted research to determine how effective Leadership for Life was at meeting its objectives. This evaluation took place over 2011-2013. It involved a total group of 431 young people. They were made up of 264 who completed the programme and 164 who were a comparison group. 

For each participant, measures were taken of leadership skills, life skills, resilience, empathy and social support. This was calculated at three different stages. Before the young person did the programme, after the programme, and a number of months later as a follow up to the programme.

The results showed that young people who completed the programme showed significant improvements in a whole range of positive traits. When compared to the comparison group, Leadership for Life participants performed higher in measures of:

  • Goal Setting
  • Empathy
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Leadership Skills
  • Community Involvement
  • Resilience
  • Sibling Support
  • Social Support
  • Emotional support 

To learn more about our evaluation see our Evaluation Briefing Form.