The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) represents voluntary youth organisations by building solidarity in the youth work sector, acting on issues that affect young people, and promoting equality and inclusion. We work in collaboration with government agencies as well as the community and wider voluntary sector, and also provide practical training that allows our members to build capacity within their organisations.

The organisation’s ‘employee-first’ approach supports new and flexible ways of working

I have overall responsibility for the finance and operations function. I manage a team of five, ranging from qualified accountants to digital marketers, and we work across all areas of the organisation. With the support of the team and in coordination with senior management, I provide quarterly financial information to the board of directors to enable them to ensure complete transparency and accountability for the financial position of the organisation. Increasing use of digital systems has allowed us to effectively eliminate paper-based accounting records. We have also implemented a new HR platform that has transformed our systems.

From the moment I joined the NYCI in early 2022, I was encouraged by the enormous support for new ideas. The organisation’s ‘employee-first’ approach supports new and flexible ways of working, meaning that innovation and collaboration are at the forefront. This in turns leads to better outcomes for our members and young people. Looking to the future, I want to further develop my skills through training and development.

We are receiving an increasing number of reports of deprivation and food poverty

Youth work organisations are seeing increased demand for their services. Young people are struggling to deal with the impact of the rising cost of living, after long periods of lockdown that affected mental health and social connections. We are receiving an increasing number of reports from members of deprivation and food poverty. This comes at a time when organisations themselves are dealing with rising overheads.

The government needs to better resource the sector to deliver for young people. Rising costs are leading to some organisations diverting budget from programmes for young people just to keep buildings warm. Pressure on the sector is seeing more qualified youth workers and volunteers leave. We have been asking for adequate investment in Budget 2024 to support recruitment now and into the long term.

With a positive attitude and outlook, the sky really is the limit

In my downtime I love hillwalking and I am fortunate enough to live close to the Wicklow mountains.  I find exercise can cure a lot of our problems and gives a great boost and sense of wellbeing. In the coming years I hope to travel more, and will encourage the love for adventure and seeing new cultures within my daughters.

The most important business lesson I have learned in my career is not to underestimate yourself or others. Never shy away from new opportunities; you never know what they can lead to. With a positive attitude and outlook, the sky really is the limit.