Safer Internet Day and beyond

This week sees Safer Internet Day (SID2018) on Tuesday 6th. An annual event that seems to be getting bigger each year. This post has a look at some of the resources made available this week that can be used to explore online safety not just this week, but that might be useful at any point in future

All over the world

SID is an international event, so there are national versions of the Safer Internet Day Website  – This means you can look for tips and resources from countries other than Ireland

This first link is a selection of resources from other countries

Irish page –

UK version –

Australia –


Much of the advice is around starting conversation between parents/carers and their children/young people.  There are plenty of tips to be had around protecting your profiles on social media and apps, but also about how ot report any inappropriate or unwanted contacts.

A  couple of great starting points in Ireland are Webwise and Spunout.

Webwise has explainers, resources you can download or order hard copy from them. There is a lot here for parents, young people, teachers and youth workers. Yesterday they launched a new resource for schools to be delivered by An Gardai called ‘Be in Cntrl’

webwise be in ctrl

Spunout has its ‘Online Safety Hub‘.  This has a huge amount of information about how different apps work, how to report abuse, how to change your settings to stay safer




Cybersafe is also useful. They deliver talks to schools all over Ireland, and have recently been running a pilot programme in Co Wicklow. This week they launched their flyer for parents about how to talk to your child about staying safe online
cybersafe flyer

Australia’s e-safety page has comprehensive list of apps and social media sites looking at settings, abuse and privacy.  You can also find out about their e-safety commissioner on their website

In the UK this page from the South West Grid for Learning is aimed at young people and parents offering advice and information around issues resulting from sexting incidents – So You Got Naked Online (note the support organisations are British)

Also from the UK, a Snapchat Checklist –


Other tips

The Head of the Digital Youth Council of Ireland – Harry McCann recently tweeted with a small number of common sense tips for online safety


EuroPol has released a series of images with tips for banking online, shopping online and for dealing with requests for photos


Wicklow Comhairle na nOg also launched their Cyberbullying Charter. This was created by young people in County Wicklow following a survey and consultation with young people right across Co Wicklow. It has messages for bullies, those bullied, organisations and all stakeholders in a bullying situation

cyberbullying charter


Safer Internet Day seems to be an event that is becoming more important each year, with an increasing number of events and a greater need to improve not just our children’s digital literacy, but a greater awareness of how parents and adults in general can promote a safer internet


An Easy Guide to an Easy Mind

How do you cheer yourself up? Is there something you do that just helps to wash away the stresses of the day?

It was from a conversation around those questions that a young women’s group from Arklow put together a small journal called ‘An Easy Guide To An Easy Mind’.

 journal cover

During the year we worked with the girls group from The Vault youth centre in Arklow.  The result of that work was a 42 page well-being journal filled with ideas from the young people about things they do to relax, distress and generally cheer themselves up, and now we make it available for free download.

journal spotify

The journal doesn’t aim to tell young people ‘how to be happy’, but shares some of the groups favourite things to do, while leaving space for users of the journal to create their own lists or activities that fit with the different sections. Some of them are simple and easy to do, like a playlist of feel good songs or think about the simple pleasures that we do day to day, while other section help us to think about how to get a good night’s sleep.


The design of the book tries to bring a personal scrapbook type look to it. Hours were spent cutting out letters from magazines to create page headings, and old typewriter was found to try give it an old look. The girls worked with an artist who helped them with the design, but also by bringing to life the girl’s ideas for a little cartoon figure (called Alan) who would pop up from time to time (including to the cover) to offer some tips.  So if the journal isn’t always the most slick professional looking book of all time,  this is (mostly) done on purpose.



If you like mindfullness colouring books, then we have a drawing especially done for the journal by Deirdre Burke, a local artist from Arklow who worked with the girls.




We aim to distribute the book among all of the secondary schools in Co Wicklow, as well as Youthreach centres and youth centres in the county.  We currently have a very limited amount of hard copies available from YouthSpin office in either Bray or Arklow.


You can also download the journal from this page. We would encourage you to share the journal, or links to this page if you think it might be of use to people.

Try our Spotify Playlist of feel good music

Click HERE to download An East Guide to an Easy Mind

Opening a bank account with no photo ID or proof of address

Each year a number of people get in touch who are struggling to open a bank account because they don’t have photo ID or letters with their home address that the bank will accept.  So this post aims to make a couple of suggestions that might help when it is time to open your first bank account.


bank account

Many young people this summer will be opening their first Bank Account.  This might be for their SUSI payment, first job, or may just be because it’s one of the usual things you do as you get older. The process of opening a bank account should be straightforward.

  1. Turn up at a bank
  2. Fill out some forms
  3. Give them your money

Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Due to a crackdown on money laundering, banks now have a responsibility to make sure that people opening up bank accounts are really who they say they are.


What do you need to open an account?

To open a new bank account you need Photo ID, like a passport, driver license or an EU identity card. Some might accept the Age Card. You will also need proof of address.  This means a letter or something official sent to your house that has your name and your address on it. This could be a bill for electricity, gas etc. A Credit Union statement or Post Office book might do. A letter from the Revenue or something from the social welfare office may also be ok.  A mobile phone contract won’t do.

Each bank should be able to give you list of what documents they will accept when it comes to opening your account. They may be slightly different in each bank, so it’s worth checking before your go.  We found that their lists weren’t very easy to find online, so we’ve found lists from the main banks so you don’t have to look

Allied Irish Bank –

Bank Of Ireland –

Permanent TSB –

Ulster Bank –


So what do you do if you have no Photo ID?

If you have no photo ID, and you don’t have the money or time to get a passport or driver license, and you are too young for an Age Card then you can get a ML 10 Form signed by the Gardai and this can be used.

You can download the form here or they should have them in the Garda station.  Bring along any documents you may have with you to help the Garda be sure of your identity.


And if you don’t have a proof of address?

We frequently hear, “I live with my parents so I have no bills or official letters in my name sent to my address.”

It is not unusual for a young  person to not have bills in their name, nor to have worked or a had any official dealings with the government yet. You might have had something with your PPS card, or when applying for a medical card, but if you were not expecting to use it, you may have thrown out any letter than came with the cards.
A tip we got from a bank official was to apply to the revenue office for a P21 end of year statement from the revenue office. Details of how to do this are on the revenue website here

Basically you phone your local tax office and they will send one out to you. It won’t take long.  Don’t worry if you have never paid tax or had a job, they will write to you telling you that you have paid no tax. This is what you want, as you will then have a letter from the Revenue addressed to you at  your house.
So, in summary

  • Go to Garda station and get an ML 10 form filled for your photo ID
  • Get a P21 in your name sent to your home as your proof of address


Opening a bank account is a bit of a rite of passage – a step along your route to adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it.  If you will need to open one in the coming months or even further along, prepare now. Keep some letters, and if you can afford it, get a passport. But if you need to do it now or fairly soon, hopefully the couple of tips above will help. Failing that, talk to the bank staff and get their advice, because they really do want your money.

Rough Guide to the Student Grant 2017

There’s a lot to think about when going to college. Financial support is one of the big ones. Each year Crosscare Youth Information service produces a ‘Rough Guide to the Student Grant’. Below is the 2017 version, available for you to download and share freely.


You can download the ‘Rough Guide to Student Grant 2017’ here

There have been a few small changes to the grant for 2017, but for most people the criteria and figures will stay the same.  If you are eligible for the ‘Special top-up rate’ the threshold has risen to €23,000. The grant for some Post Graduate students has been reintroduced. Mature students that had previously dropped out of college can now apply for a grant for a plc course and there are changes around counting bursaries and for children of naturalized citizens. More detail about this can be found from the Dept of Education or you can click on this link to view their recent announcement of the scheme.
Our guide will give you a basic introduction to the grant, mainly around the types of questions we get mostly get asked about, including the thresholds, figures and eligibility criteria.
Some of the other costs of going to college:

  • PLC Programme Participant Contribution of €200 per year for Level 5/6 (Colleges for Further Ed).  You are exempt from this if you qualify for The Student Grant.
  • Student Contribution of up to €3,000 per year for Level 7/8 (ITs/ Universities). You are exempt from this if you are eligible for The Student Grant.
  • Fee for student facilities e.g. internet, services
  • Exam fees
  • Costs for specific courses e.g. Art material for design courses, – some course material can cost over €2,000
  • Travel Costs


If you are having any difficulty with any of the student grant process, whether that s uncertainty about one part of the application, or you would like us to sit with you and help complete the full  application form, then we are happy to help with that difficulty.

You can give us a call, contact us via social media or email. We also have offices in Bray and Arklow where you can meet an information worker, but we can also make arrangements to visit other parts of the county to meet with groups or individuals.

A PDF version of the Rough Guide can be downloaded here below

Student Grant Rough Guide2017


Guide to Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in Ireland have been undergoing a bit of a change of late.  Good news is there are a lot more opportunities now.  Our youth Information team in Crosscare have put together a rough guide to introduce you to the basics, but the important thing to know is that you can contact us if you have any specific questions that we can help you with.

Feel free to download and share our Guide to Apprenticeships


What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is the term used to describe a period of training where you learn mostly on the job, mixing blocks of college work with full time employment. As an apprentice you will earn as you learn.  You will be paid for your work and you will gain internationally recognised qualifications.



A pre-apprenticeship course is for young people who want to do an apprenticeship but don’t have the minimum entry requirements.

These courses have both hands-on and classroom based modules, and aim to develop skills, knowledge and expertise to gaining an apprenticeship in a range of trades or industries.  For information you can contact us or SOLAS.

Craft Apprenticeships

Craft Apprenticeships are coordinated by SOLAS.

Entry requirements:

There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a minimum of five D grades in the Junior Cert or equivalent (QQI level 3/4).
  • In reality, however, many employers would prefer to take on those with a Leaving Cert or equivalent.

If you can’t meet these criteria, you can still become an apprentice if you:

  • Complete an approved pre-apprenticeship training course.
  • Are over 16 and have worked for at least three years in a relevant industry that SOLAS approves and have competed a successful assessment interview.

Female Bursary

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, SOLAS/ETBs offer a bursary as an incentive to employers  to encourage them to recruit more women.  More information can be found on the old FAS website


Occupational Apprenticeships:

There are new apprenticeships available in areas such as;


NFQ level 5 to 9 is offered through the individual industries.  There are different entry criteria depending on the sector and job.  The most common way is through the Leaving Cert, however there are also other ways to meet the criteria.  Individual Sectors have different application dates and methods.

Where to find apprenticeships:

To help find employers Careers Portal have a great list of where to find potential employers here.  Also keep an eye on their ‘news’ section which details current opportunities some of which are apprenticeships.  They also have a lot of information about existing apprenticeships including training and entry requirements.
You can also contact the relevant professional bodies such as the Accounting Technicians of Ireland, Insurance Practitioners of Ireland etc.  A quick tip would be to join their mailing list, keep and eye out for recruitment drives and talk to potential employers.
Call into your local to SOLAS and make an appointment to talk to someone about apprenticeships. Check with SOLAS for details of employers that are looking for an apprentice.   Also their website gives advice on how to find apprenticeships etc.
If you are interested in Construction you can register your interest and create an account with also see their vacancy page for current opportunities.

You can also check out vacancies online with Jobs Ireland.

Quick tip – keep at it and be persistent!


For more information download and share our Guide to Apprenticeships


If you can’t find the information that you need about apprenticeships we are here to help you. You can find us in our office in Bray at St Bricin’s on the Herbert Rd, or in The Seomra Youth Centre. We are also in The Vault youth Centre each week, and can be contacted through the youth workers in Newtownmountkennedy and Kilcoole.

Our phone number is 01 2050502, or you can email  You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter


Apprenticeships and other current opportunities

In our Facebook and twitter pages we have being making people aware of a number of Apprenticeship and training opportunities happening just at the moment. This post is just a quick round up of the different opportunities that are currently on offer



At the moment there are national recruitment campaigns happening for both the ESB and for Eir, while a new occupational apprenticeship has just been announced.

The ESB are recruiting Electrical Apprentices.

You need to be over 16 as of 1st June 2017 and have a minimum of a Junior Cert with Grade C (ordinary level)  in 5 subjects which must include Irish or English, Maths, Science (although this can include Technology  Home Ec and some other subjects)

Closing date for applications March 30th 2017

Further details can be found here

Note: YouthSpin hopes to host talks aimed at young people given by ESB staff. These will take place in the coming weeks in Bray and Arklow. Details will be advertised on our Facebook page, Twitter and through local groups when we have confirmed details.

Eir are recruiting Telecommunications Field Technician Apprentices

This is a two year apprenticeship, mostly field based. So applicants need to have a full driving licence before the end of April 2017. They need to have passed 6 subjects in the Leaving Cert or the LCA (Must have maths)

Closing Date for applications April 9th 2017

Further details can be found here


Bus Eireann & Dublin Bus – Heavy Vehicle Mechanical Apprenticeship

Bus Eireann & Dublin Bus are recruiting for their 2017 Apprenticeship programme.

You must be 16 by August 1st

Candidates must have obtained the following minimum standards at the time of applying.

Grade C or higher at Ordinary Level in the Junior Certificate (or equivalent) in one sitting in the following subjects:

  1. Irish or English
  2. Mathematics
  3. Science Subject (Technology, Art, Craft & Design, Technical Graphics, Materials Technology (Wood), Home Economics or Metalwork).
  4. Any two other subjects

(Grade D or higher on higher level papers is acceptable)

Closing date is APRIL 1st

Further details are available here

Atlantic Aviation Group Aircraft Maintenance Apprenticeship

If aircraft and engineering are your thing, then this might be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.  The scheme isn’t actually open just yet, but it will be very soon

If you might be interested you need to like or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They will be advertising it through their social media rather than normal ways, so their Facebook etc is the best way to find out about their different courses.
For the apprenticeship, you have to be over 17 and have a good Leaving cert.

Further details can be found here or downloaded here


Polymer Processing Technologist apprenticeship

The latest of the new ‘occupational’ apprenticeships has been launched. It is called a ‘Polymer Processing Technologist apprenticeship’. In simple terms, working with plastics and plastic moulding to produce plastic and polymer products for different industries.

polymer appUnlike the traditional apprenticeships the minimum education is Leaving Cert and the training goes all the way up to level 7. The training takes place in Athlone IT and online through Sligo IT

Unlike traditional apprenticeships where you would do a block college session, apprentices in this scheme would need to attend one day a week, while working for 4 days.

Apprentices will need to find companies that are willing to take on apprentices in order to apply. (Plastics Ireland have a map of all the different factories etc that are producing plastics and polymers.)

Further details can be found here


Note – there is a bursary available for employers hiring women as apprentices.  This can be up to €2600 for 28 weeks.

Further information found via SOLAS here

Trainee programmes

Air Traffic Controller Programme

If you have considered a career as an air traffic controller then maybe a place in the Student Controller Programme would be of interest.

Applicants must be at least 19 years of age. They must also have passed at least five subjects in the Leaving Certificate (including Mathematics) with Grade C in at least two higher level papers or hold a comparable award at Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Note these are the minimum requirements. There is a series of follow up assessments and tests that follow the initial application.  aii logo

Closing date is 15th March

Further details can be found here


Red Rock training Scheme

To gain some real life experience of working on the set of a TV Drama, the makers of the TV Programme Red Rock are offering 6 week work placements in a variety of production  departments

Age or educational requirements are not mentioned, but applicants should submit a CV and covering letter. Red-Rock-21-june

Closing date for applications March 17th 2017

Further details available here

Other ongoing training

Carnew Training and Development Centre are holding a number of courses that start in the coming weeks


Bray Area Partnership run a number of courses, such as Safe Pass, Barista Training and ECDL.

bap logo


The Defence Forces are currently recruiting for the Army and Navy.

Army applicants must be at least 18 years old and under the age of 25 years of age on the closing date for applications.

Naval Service applicants must be at least 18 years old and under the age of 27 years of age on the closing date for applications.

No formal education qualifications are required to join the Defence Forces as a recruit. However, you must satisfy the Interview Board and the Recruiting Officer that you possess a sufficient standard of education for service in the Defence Forces

Closing date for applications is April 5th

Further details available here for the army and here for the navy


Note: YouthSpin hopes to host talks aimed at young people given by Defence Forces personnel. These will take place in the coming weeks in Newtownmountkennedy and Arklow. Details will be advertised on our Facebook page, Twitter and through local groups.



‘Nothing tastes as Good’ – a review. Plus, Its Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

We in YouthSpin have previously let you know about Young Adult books that we think tackle important issues.  As this week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week for 2017 we thought we’d double up and let you know about Irish YA book ‘Nothing Tastes As Good’ by Claire Hennessy.

We also share some facts and figures we found on the website of the excellent Bodywhys organisation. This is an important and complex issue, and this blog posts barely scratches the surface of the issue, and is intended as a pointer towards more specialised information sources.



‘Nothing tastes As Good’ is an Irish novel by an Irish author. You might recognise the title as the first half of a famous quote by Kate Moss. The full is quote is that, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

The narrator in Claire Hennessy’s book is Annabel. Annabel is dead. She has been given an ‘afterlife’ task of being a sort of Guardian Angel for Julie, who Annabel kind of knows from school. However, Annabel died from Anorexia, and she sees her job as having to make a fat girl thin.

Throughout the book we explore the world of eating disorders in different forms. It is intense, funny, sad, and engaging. Its not a lecture. It is a story told so well. You will probably feel quite angry in parts, and find your inner reading voice shouting at one or other of the different characters. It may upset you, it will make you laugh too though. The author does not talk down to her readers and most of all you will feel challenged.

I’m underselling the book. Its not ‘just’ about Eating Disorders. There is a lot more in there to engage the reader. Its definitely one of the best Young Adult books to be published in Ireland (and beyond) in 2016.

We recommend this book for young people and for adults alike.


For Eating Disorder Awareness Week we put together some statistics from the BodyWhys website into one page for you to download or share.

We’ve also posted some of the posters from BodyWhys and Seechange for 2017.

  • Up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders.
  • An estimated 400 new cases emerge each year, representing 80 deaths annually.
  • Almost 14% of all admissions for under 18s to Irish psychiatric units and hospitals had a primary diagnosis of eating disorders.
  • Females accounted for 93% of all admissions of those affected by eating disorders.
  • 77% of Irish adolescents ranked body image as being important to them.
  • 57% of the young people surveyed expressed some level of satisfaction with their body image, which means 43% were dissatisfied.


Negative body image is considerably more prevalent among girls than boys.

When asked about what influences their body image, comparison with others ranks as the most negative influence on girls’ body image and bullying as the most negative influence on boys’ body image.

71.4% of Irish adolescents feel adversely affected by media portrayal of body weight and shape, with more than a quarter (25.6%) believing it to be far too thin. McNicholas et al. (2009)

Self-image was identified as the number one factor that ‘hurts’ the mental health of Irish teens. Teenage Mental Health: What Helps and What Hurts. Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2009

According to a 2007 study of Irish children and adolescents, 1.2% of Irish girls may be at risk of developing anorexia nervosa, with 2% at risk of developing bulimia nervosa. Source: McNicholas, F. (2007) Eating Problems in Children and Adolescents.


Download Our EADW statistics Poster

The Bodywhys Website address is

Please visit for more information about eating disorders, what they are, their causes, and importantly for ways to access support.

The Seechange website address is

Seechange aim to reduce stigma and change attitudes towards people with mental health problems.