Last Friday a group of trainees on National Learning Network’s Pathways programme in Mallow took part in a simulated meeting in the Council Chamber, chair-ed by Shauna Rooney. This came at the conclusion of a six-week training module on citizenship which was delivered to Pathways trainees by Cllr. Demp-sey at the Pathways Training centre in Ballyellis, Mallow.

The Pathways pro-gramme has been running in Mallow for 12 years, providing support to people who have encountered a setback in life, to enable them to progress to greater levels of independence and to become more integrated in their own community. Over the years close links have been forged with local employers, community-based organ-isations and statutory and non-statutory bodies in delivering this very successful programme. There is a high success rate in getting people back into the workforce or on to further education and training, or completion of training.

Pathways is an HSE-funded programme and this linkage with the town council is an example of how the programme is evolving in line with the latest HSE policy on delivery of day services (‘New Directions’). The emphasis is on mobil-ising all the supports in the community to give people the widest possible choice about how they want to live their lives in the future, and how they want to spend their time. There are four core elements: health and wellbeing, personal and social development, maximis-ing independence, and community inclusion.

This partnership with the town council, and Cllr. Dempsey in particular, has been a successful innovation in delivering a module on citizenship. The final meeting in the Council Chamber last Friday is just one example of how the National Learning Net-work and the Pathways programme aim to take training out of the classroom and into the community as much as possible, to enable real-life learning to take place.

Similar initiatives in the past have included coaching and interview preparation in co-operation with local employers/agencies, and a sport and leisure module at Mallow G.A.A. Complex as well as an environmental/horticulture project Tunnel Vision in partner-ship with the Cope Foundation, IWA and HSE Norwood Day centre.

If you would like more information on Pathways or any other NLN train-ing programme you can log onto the website or contact the training centre in Hollyhill, Cork, on 021-4300144. You can also contact Pathways direct-ly on 087-6677002.