A Junior Orange lodge in Markethill has launched an innovative tuition programme for young people in Co Armagh. Here, chairman of Pioneers, CALVIN REID, outlines the rationale and purpose for the ground-breaking educational project and its aspirations for the future.
Education has never been as important as it is currently. Gone are the days when jobs that required little or no qualifications were in bountiful supply. Generally, for young people to be successful in today’s society, good grades are an essential.
Recent statistics regarding educational achievement make alarming reading for the Protestant community.
A Queen’s University summary report has previously highlighted the underachievement and lack of progression of male working-class Protestants.
In 2014, a leading academic, Dr Paul Nolan, said: “They are being locked out of employment.” He added: “I think we have been sleep walking into an inequality gap.”
With no one seemingly willing to tackle this issue head on – up steps Pioneers.
Pioneers is essentially a free programme which provides GCSE English and maths tuition to young people within the Orange family. We believe as young Orangemen that we have a duty of responsibility to our community. By investing in our youth this can only positively benefit our community as a whole.
As the motto of our scheme suggests we want to ‘equip’ our young people by giving them the tools necessary to achieve their potential but we also want to ‘inspire’ them so that they will believe in their own ability and not limit their aspirations in life. We want to hold Pioneers up as a beacon to show that the Orange Institution has a key part to play in society.
Our name is inspired by our Ulster-Scots forefathers who pioneered into the ‘New World’. We want to create a generation of bold and ambitious young Protestants, just as they were, and in so doing, expand the fraternal role of the Orange Institution.
We are based in Markethill, Co Armagh, and our tutoring centre there is linked to Kilbracks Bible and Crown Defenders, JLOL 75 and all our ‘Pioneers’ are members.
We hope our first centre in Markethill will be the tip of the iceberg. We have a wide-ranging and comprehensive vision for our project and we have already begun planning our expansion.
We hope that Pioneers in a small way will show all that is good about Orangeism and will help our wider community and in particular, our young people, thrive in the future.
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