helps Early School Leavers cook up a storm

Thursday 23 October, 2014. A new resource designed to help Early School Leavers learn skills in healthy eating and food safety has been launched by safefood and is the first free online resource specifically designed with early school leavers in mind.

With up to 1 in 5 teenagers¹ leaving school early, this can impact negatively on their longer-term health, as limited knowledge around healthy eating and physical activity is a contributory factor to the growing problem of obesity on the island.

Mr Gerry Griffin, National Co-ordinator Youthreach, the full-time training programme for early school leavers in the Republic of Ireland said “This website is a great opportunity for our staff to deliver life skills training around food and hygiene, in a way that is engaging, empowering and relevant to the needs of young people in society. It does exactly that in a way that is clear, concise, structured and visually appealing to our students.”

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health and Nutrition, safefood added:

We know from speaking with early school leavers that their diets and levels of physical activity are of real concern to them. ‘’ was developed with the input of young people and their trainers and was piloted with them. Their input was vital as it helped shape the information on the website, how it is displayed to them and in an environment they’re familiar with. Learning about food is a lifelong skill and we hope this is something young people will bring with them.” includes team and individual projects, online games, videos and posters as well as recipes. The programme complements nutrition related curriculum in early school leaver settings in a way that meets the specific nutrition needs of this group, taking the range of abilities, literary and attendance aspects into account.

Welcoming the resource, Jo Marley, Bryson Charitable Group, and chair of the Northern Ireland Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) Forum said, “The Voluntary & Community Sector Forum (NEET) concerns itself with all aspects of the impact on young people of not being engaged in education, employment or training. The Forum is therefore delighted that the much underestimated determinant of nutrition and exercise has been the subject of extensive research and we welcome this website which will be of tremendous value to all in this field.”

Sharon Gilmore, Head of Standards and Dietary Health at the FSA in NI said: “We have produced a range of resources for schools and young people in recent years – but haven’t worked with the ESL sector before. We’re delighted to have produced this great resource together with safefood and the NEET Forum. We are confident it will be really useful for young people.” has been developed in partnership with educational trainers² across the island of Ireland from the sector and in partnership with the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland.

To find out more about or other education resources on healthy eating and food safety visit

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For further information or to request an interview, please contact


Dermot Moriarty 01 448 0622 / 086 381 1034 or Julie Carroll 01 448 0619


¹ Department of Employment and Learning; Northern Ireland (2013)

Department of Education; Republic of Ireland (2014)

² NEET Forum (Northern Ireland) and Youthreach (Republic of Ireland)

young chefs in the kitchen