The NYCI National Conference 2023: A Vision for Youth Work on December 8th united youth workers, managers, policymakers and other stakeholders in a conversation around how, together, we can implement our shared vision for the future of youth work.

It was an interactive space that helped ideas flourish, connections strengthen, and inspiration flow! On this page you’ll find resources related to the conference.

Together, we’ll empower and motivate each other to drive change and create the conditions for a brighter tomorrow for the young people we work for and with.  

🎥 The conference in 2 minutes

Take a look back at the highlights and key messages from the day.

📁 Workshop Presentation Materials

Explore the details of the breakout sessions available and access digital copies of presentation slides and relevant materials. 

Each workshop provided attendees with an expert overview of key aspects of the vision for youth work, sparking conversations around how to ensure it becomes a reality.

Communicating the Nature and Purpose of Youth Work

Presenter: Martina Quinn, Founder and Managing Director of Alice PR

Martina Quinn, Founder and Managing Director of Alice PR, provided insights on communicating the benefits of youth work and effectively driving positive change in the community.

Download slides used at this session >>

Connection and Action, From Local to Global

Presenter: Olive Ojo, North-East Inner City Officer with the National College of Ireland

Olive Ojo explored the connections between local and global youth work, offering actionable strategies for fostering positive change on a broader scale.

Access and Opportunity; Equality and Equity

Presenters: Danni McKenna, Rialto Youth Project & Kate O’Connell, NYCI

This workshop committed to Equality and Equity, exploring responsive youth work practice in light of the emergent issue of far-right mobilisation. It delved into a case study of needs-based practice designed to support young people facing social injustice and inequalities, exploring issues of access, opportunity, equality, and equity in youth work.

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Quality, Relevance, and Responsiveness

Presenters: Dr. Hilary Tierney, Maynooth University and Sally Daly, NYCI

This workshop, featuring analysis from the MIYO project, created space for reflection and supported engagement with a key project focus: the impact of youth organizations. Participants and presenters considered a vision for a coordinated approach to research into the changing lives and circumstances of young people.

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Personal and Social Impact

Presenter: Aisha Alameen Betro, Youth Representative on Fingal Children and Young People Services Committee at Foróige

Aisha Alameen Betro, Youth Representative, offered reflections on distinctive youth work methods empowering young people to analyze the world and develop their capacity for positive change. Insights were shared on personal and social impact, discussing how to make this part of the Vision for Youth Work a reality.

Download slides used at this session >>

Recognition and Resources

Presenter: Kathryn Reilly, Policy and Legislative Affairs Manager, Irish Heart Foundation

Kathryn Reilly, former Senator and policy strategist, provided a unique opportunity to learn about advocating for change and increased resources. The session engaged participants in detailed discussions on effectively working together to build recognition for the youth sector and secure resources.

Download slides used at this session >>

People – Capacity, Support, and Diversity

Presenter: Theresa Heaney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland

Theresa Heaney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, shared insights on how the early childcare sector achieved improvements in workforce planning, security, and investment. The workshop explored the importance of people, capacity, support, and diversity in youth work.

Structures and Systems

Presenter: Carol Baxter, Assistant Secretary in DCEDIY, provided an input into a session facilitated by NYCI CEO, Mary Cunningham

This workshop explored how the sector and young people contribute to youth affairs policy and offered insights into partnership working to inform the Action Plan on Youth Services and the roadmap to implementation. Collectively, participants worked to explore how youth work provision rests on optimal collaboration and partnership within the voluntary sector and between the sector and statutory authorities at national and local levels.

📢 Media Coverage

Our national conference highlighted the power of youth work to support young people and unify communities.

Listen back to conference panellist, youth worker Dean Murray make the case for increased recognition of, and investment in, youth work on RTE Drivetime.

🎤 Speaker Bios

Learn more about the inspiring individuals shaping the conference.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Katriona O’Sullivan

Katriona is Senior Lecturer in the Assisting Living & Learning Institute, Department of Psychology, Maynooth University. She is also a memoirist and her first book, Poor, debuted at #1 on the Irish Non-Fiction bestseller list. She is the Principal Investigator on the STEM Passport for Inclusion project, featured recently on RTE Changemaker series. She has held research grants from the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland leading an initiative to tackle digital inequality in education. She also successfully led the largest HEA PATH funded programme entitled Turn to Teaching which focused on diversifying teacher education. She has been invited speaker at the World Education Forum, the European Gender Action Workshop on Women and Digitalization and most recently at the UN gender equality workshop. She has worked with Irish policy makers to develop policies around education and inclusion. She has published research on equality, gender, education, inclusion and STEM.

Prof Maurice Devlin

Maurice Devlin is Professor of Applied Social Studies at Maynooth University, where he also holds the Jean Monnet Chair in European Youth Studies. Originally from County Derry, he is a graduate of the University of Hull (BA in Drama and English), University College Dublin (MA in English, MSocSc in Sociology), Maynooth University (PhD in Sociology) and Trinity College Dublin (MSc in IT in Education). He was founding Joint Chair of the North South Education and Training Standards Committee (NSETS), the all-Ireland body for the professional endorsement of youth work training. He is the Irish correspondent for the European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKCYP) and from 2010-2018 was Vice President for Europe (including the Russian Federation) of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Youth (RC34).

Minister Roderic O’Gorman

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman has been a TD for his constituency of Dublin West since 2020, having previously served as Councillor in the Castleknock Local Electoral Area for six years, and worked as a law lecturer in DCU and Griffith College. 


Dean Lee Murray

Dean is a graduate from Maynooth University in Community and Youth Work. Since March 2022 he has been a part time Youth Worker with Talk About Youth Project in St Andrew’s Resource Centre on Pearse Street. A focus of his work has been the weekly clubs and groups, such as Gaisce. He brings technology and new ways of engaging with young people through the various experiences and connections he brings with him to the role. Outside of his day to day job, Dean has been a delegate to the European Youth Forum on behalf of NYCI. This role involves creating and voting on European Youth Policies, such as banning unpaid internships and trying to make Vote at 16 a reality for more European countries

Mike Ferron

Mick Ferron is currently the Regional Youth Services Manager with Sphere 17 Regional Youth Service. Prior to his 18 years in management with Sphere 17, Mick has worked in community-based youth service provision in Ballyfermot and in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. He has also worked in the homeless sector, and in a drugs education project in Cork.

Moninne Griffith

Moninne Griffith is the CEO of Belong To Youth Services, a former director of Marriage Equality, a feminist, and an LGBT activist.

Senator Lynn Ruane

Lynn Ruane is from Tallaght and lives in Killinarden with her two daughters. Before entering politics, she developed community drug services and community initiatives over 15 years in Tallaght and Dublin’s Canal Communities. As a firm believer in lifelong learning, Lynn has engaged in education for most of her adult life. After leaving school early, she attended An Cosán in Tallaght at the age of fifteen, before going on to study addiction in several courses. She then returned to full-time education as a mature student; graduating from Trinity College Dublin with an honours degree in Political Science, Philosophy, Economics and Sociology in 2016.

Expert presenters

Aisha Alameen Betro

Aisha is currently in 3rd level education, studying Advanced Therapeutic Technologies at RCSI. She is a member of Foróige LEAD (League of Equality and Anti-Discrimination) advocating for equality and inclusion within Ireland, enabling the voice of young people to be heard and constructing positive change. She represents Foróige on Fingal CYPSC. At NYCI she is involved with Young Voices (EU Youth Dialogue) where she represents the young people of Ireland on numerous occasions, e.g. EYY National Steering Committee and CoE Pilot Youth Forum on AI in Healthcare.

Danielle McKenna

Dannielle McKenna is Project Manager of Rialto Youth Project, which is a community youth organisation based in Dublin 8. In Rialto, Youth Work is done through a commitment of developing meaningful relationships with young people where their needs are central. Through process led programmes and projects we create the conditions for young people to take risks and support them to become creative agents of change within their own lives.

Dermot O’Brien

Dermot is an international trainer and facilitator who has been working in the Development Education, Youth Work and Further Education sectors for many years. He has been involved in co-authoring the last five Development Education resources for the National Youth Council of Ireland’s ‘One World Week’ as well as delivering training and hosting events for NYCI. He has also been involved in designing and delivering training, supporting events and organising activities with a variety of organisations in the Development Education and Global Citizenship field. As a tutor in the Liberties College Dermot teaches the Social Justice Principles module on the Youth and Community studies course.

Kathryn Reilly

Kathryn has been Policy Manager in the Irish Heart Foundation for over 6 years. She is a policy and politics graduate with a Masters in Public Policy and MEconSc in European Economic and Public Affairs. She was a Senator in the Irish Parliament for 5 years from 2011-2016, having previously been a parliamentary assistant. Subsequently she served as a policy advisor on health to Louise O’Reilly TD before joining the IHF. As part of her work, she has been successful in securing important policy and legislative changes including amendments to legislation including the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022. She is a co-author, with leading Irish academics, of a 2020 paper on insights from the industry lobby against the sugar tax in Ireland and a 2022 paper on ultra-processed food.

Martina Quinn

Martina Quinn is the Founder and Managing Director of Alice, an award-winning public relations agency, headquartered in Dublin. Martina’s specialisms include strategic communications for the non-profit sector; stakeholder engagement; public affairs and political communications; and crisis / issues management. She currently serves as Strategic Advisor for the WorkEqual campaign on workplace gender equality, and for Trans Equality Together, a coalition working to create an Ireland where trans and non-binary people are equal, safe and valued. She also sits on the Board of Women’s Aid.

Olive Ojo

Olive works with 6 DEIS schools within the North-East Inner City of Dublin, focussing on sourcing professional work experience for students from disadvantaged communities and assisting them through events and our mentoring programme to build their social capital. She is also a youth pastor in Holy Trinity Rathmines.

The Vision for Youth Work

Get your copy of the full document and poster to help you bring the Vision to life in your work, and translate the vision into a reality for all our young people.