Clare County Council has been granted funding close on €400,000 from the EU to lure young people into considering maritime-related careers.
The local authority’s Social Development Directorate, through its remit to increase overall participation levels in sport and physical activity, has been awarded the EU Erasmus+ programme funding as part of the Atlantic Youth Project.
“As the only Irish partner in the European-wide project, Clare County Council is tasked with encouraging and developing the maritime culture of young Europeans, through the practice of water sports and maritime education at school,” explained Tim Forde, head of sport and recreation with Clare County Council.
“Over the three-year term of this project, the local authority will facilitate the involvement of a significant number of second level school children with opportunities to participate in water sports in our county, whilst also participating in organised maritime education opportunities that will be EU-funded.”
Mr Forde and Liam Conneally, director of social development, Clare County Council, represented the local authority at the project launch and inaugural meeting of the participating partners, which was held recently in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, home to the lead partner, Cim Alto Minho.
Mr Conneally noted that Clare had been selected to participate in the Atlantic Youth Project, due to its “ready access to sea and river waters surrounding the county, maritime heritage, existing maritime infrastructure for hosting project activities and Clare County Council’s lengthy track record of delivering education outreach programmes”.
He added, “With partners in Spain, Portugal, France, UK and Ireland, the Atlantic Youth Project will also contribute to the implementation of the EU’s Atlantic Maritime Strategy through the development of a maritime culture among young people, which in turn will encourage the upcoming generation to consider maritime sport, recreation and industry as a career path.”
Over the coming months, the council will be working with sporting and educational stakeholders across the county and will confirm details of the rollout of the Atlantic Youth Project in early 2018.