Generation Change took place in Google HQ on October 5th, 2022. The event, which was a cross-sectoral dialogue looking at the challenges for those leaving the probation service and prison system in finding employment opportunities, was hosted by Gaisce – The President’s Award and the Department of Justice’s ‘Working to Change’ strategy and supported by James Long and Timmy Leonard of ‘The Two Norries’ Podcast.


In November 2020, the Department of Justice launched the Working to Change social enterprise and employment strategy 2021 – 2023. The overall aim of this strategy is to increase employment options for people with criminal histories as a way of reducing reoffending, promoting active citizenship and safer communities and fewer victims.

The Working to Change strategy is dynamically demonstrating the pathways to employment that exist and can exist for people, in a post-custodial context. It is also exploring a wider and deeply transformative narrative of diversity and inclusion that has untold benefits for all of society.

There is a natural link and synergy between the transformative journey that a young person undertaking their Gaisce Award takes, and the strategy employed by Working to Change which is all about meaningful employment, removing barriers to support individual change, creating fair and accessible routes to work for people with criminal records.

For the last two decades, Gaisce has worked to support and advocate for young people in all areas of the Irish justice system, where the impact of the Award programme can be deeply profound.

Achieving a Gaisce Award (Bronze, Silver or Gold) requires immense levels of dedication, resilience and self-determination especially when achieved in a justice setting. These are all skills and attributes that are sought out by employers particularly now with an international labour shortage.

The Working to Change strategy is the clear and certain signpost that a better future and place in society exists and therefore validates the reasons for participation in a self-development programme like the Gaisce Award.


Working to Change

The Department of Justice Working to Change Strategy is committed to a whole-systems approach to increasing employment options for people with past convictions that recognises their skills and capabilities leading to active citizenship, safer communities, fewer victims and supporting a route to desistance.

Gaisce – The President’s Award

Gaisce – The President’s Award (est. 1985) is a self-development programme for young people aged 14-25, which has been proven to enhance confidence and wellbeing through the participation in physical, personal, community and team challenges. For the last two decades, Gaisce has worked to support and advocate for young people in all areas of the Irish justice system, where the impact of the award programme can be deeply profound.

Key Takeaways

If you are an employer, consider employing individuals with convictions:
Actively seek out social enterprises when looking to contract or tender for services.

If you support or work with young people under 26 or are under 26:
Get involved with Gaisce today as a participant or support leader or President’s Award Leader.

Embrace the challenge of personal development and see what you can achieve!

Thank You

Thank you to the Minister, our keynote speaker, all speakers, contributors and our MC hosts.

Congratulations and thank you to each of the President’s Award Leaders who were presented with their Civic Merit Award. The Civic Merit is a very special Award presented to President’s Award Leaders who have been active in delivering Gaisce for five years or more.

Thank you to the Social Enterprises who exhibited:
Bridge / Clean Slate
College Connect, Unlocking Potential
EPIC – Cornmarket Probation Project
Frontline Bikes
Irish Association for Social Inclusion Opportunities
Merchants Quay Ireland
New Creation Cleaning Services
Open Doors Initiative
PACE Social Enterprise
Solas Project
Venture Out

Featured Videos

David Sneddon and The Two Norries
Event Introduction

Minster James Browne Opening Remarks

Sinéad Gibney’s Keynote Address

Anita Dooley on the impact
Gaisce has in Limerick Prison