At Good Shepherd Cork, we have developed an education and development programme to meet the needs of vulnerable women and girls who, for whatever reason, are unable to access mainstream educational programmes.

We recognise that not only is education key to gaining economic independence through employment, but perhaps even more crucially, it is vital to building a sense of self and to the ability to be an active and equal participant in the community and in wider society.

Our programme helps women who may find formal education daunting and impossible to get a fresh start and re-engage with education in a meaningful way. Our work over many years, has taught us that to truly engage with the most vulnerable women, our programmes must be flexible: for women living in chaos even attending two mornings a week can be a huge achievement; we also know that our teaching methods must be different to those of a normal classroom: many women struggle with literacy or interpersonal skills and our tutors work in a unique and creative way to overcome such issues.

The more obstacles and problems people encounter in their education and their lives, the more complex their learning and support needs become. Feelings of helplessness, demotivation and loss of morale can all too easily lead to disengagement and alienation. Our programmes are designed not just to re-engage women, but to encourage aspiration. By offering wide ranging education and development programmes, Good Shepherd Cork enable women to develop meaningful pathways whether through formal qualifications or by gaining life skills and personal-development.

Women are encouraged to explore new possibilities, to actively engage in daily living and to see themselves as having productive futures in their community.

Our Education Programme:

  • Supports each person’s unique learning needs
  • Maximises their learning opportunities
  • Introduces objectives with a strong emphasis on progression to further education
  • Develops personal skills like self-regulation, task application and personal effectiveness
  • Offers a flexible and diverse route to education, self-development and employment


We offer a variety of flexible study options:

The Full Time Learner
This is a full time Solas funded course offering a wide subject choice with a valuable life skills component. Learners work towards a Major QQI (FETAC) award at Level 3 and there is a strong emphasis on progression to further education and training as a primary objective of this programme.

The Part Time Learner
We are able to offer flexible hours to suit the individual who cannot commit to full time attendance.

Drop in Classes
We offer open and informal drop in classes are in literacy, numeracy and computer skills.

Subjects covered by our Education and Development programme include:

  • Art Design and Crafts
  • Baking
  • Basic Literacy
  • Career Planning and Work Experience
  • Computers
  • Communications
  • Childcare
  • Healthy Eating
  • Mathematics
  • Basic Nail Art
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Gardening
  • Sexual Health and Well-Being
  • Understanding Inter-culturalism
The aim of this programme is to encourage a holistic, life-long approach to sexual health and for women to develop awareness and confidence around their own sexual wellbeing.

A sexual health worker is also available at Edel House once a month for advice and consultation. Aspects covered include:

  • Sexual Health Promotion in the Irish Context
  • Sexual Health a Life Course Approach
  • Contraception and STI’s
  • Self Esteem & Sexual Health
  • Sexual Diversity
  • Society and Sexual Health
  • Irish Law and Sexual Health
SFBT, as the name suggests, is about being brief and focusing on solutions, rather than on problems. When people are in crisis, it can be hard for them to see any positives. Using SFBT, our workers encourage women to focus on their strengths, the positive factors in their lives and their successes and achievements. By taking this approach we find that women become more engaged and motivated and better able to take positive steps towards independence and re-engagement with the community.

At Good Shepherd Cork, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is taken out of the therapy or counselling room and applied to our Education and Development programme and practiced across all our services.

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP, is a self-designed prevention and wellness programme that can be used by those with mental health difficulties or those in recovery from addiction to get well and stay well. It is used extensively by individuals and by health care and mental health practitioners all over the world.

WRAP focuses on developing a daily maintenance plan and wellness toolbox, identifying triggers and early warning signs of when things are breaking down so that timely action and support can be obtained. We encourage women in all sections of our service to get involved in WRAP training in and to use the tools to maintain physical and mental health and promote wellbeing.

We offer an educational programme for secondary schools dealing with the causes and problems associated with homelessness.

This programme aims to heighten awareness and to challenge the stereotypical image of homelessness