Paul Smyth


I have a lifetime of experience in international youth work - primarily focused on conflicted and post-conflict societies, and exploring concepts of citizenship with young people and youth workers from around the world. My career has seen me work in an academic environment (training teachers and youth workers, and research), working for a statutory youth agency and running one of Northern Ireland's most innovative, multi-award winning and ground breaking youth organisations, Public Achievement.

Paul Smyth has 4 references for past work as a trainer.

Paul  Smyth

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Current occupation

Freelance engagement expert

Work experience

I have worked extensively in a number of European Countries and also in the Middle East (Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon) and in South Africa.

Current Role
Since the end of January 2016, I have been working as a freelance expert for other organisations in Northern Ireland and around the world on projects including organizational development, youth engagement and participation structures for young people. I also piloted the neighbourhood based social network Nextdoor in Northern Ireland - where it has grown faster than anywhere else in the world.

I am also a trainer for ECORYS in the UK on an Erasmus project on Intercultural Competence (ICC)

Previous Role
I was previously the CEO of Public Achievement. The organisation developed a model known as “Civic Youth Work” and ran a series of groundbreaking projects that supported better engagement between young people from tougher social realities, and various kinds of public authority – including museums, the fire services, the police and with politicians. Under my leadership the organisation won a raft of awards, including a Big Society Award from the UK Prime Minister (2012), a TechforGood award (2014) and an award for the most innovative European volunteer project in Europe.

The organisation was best known for the WIMPS (Where Is My Public Servant?) project and website – – a unique project which helped young people to use media to address important issues, and to engage directly with elected representatives. He raised over £7 million in funding for the charity over its 16-year lifespan.

EDUCATION (Key qualifications)

Institution Degree Year Field of Study
University of Ulster Adv Dip 2013 Sustainable Investment for the 3rd Sector
University of Ulster MSc 2010 Innovation Management in the Public Sector
University of Ulster Certificate 2005 Sustainable Futures – Managing Nonprofits
Brunel University M.A. 1998 Youth and Community Studies
University of Ulster B.A. 1988 Fine Arts (Honors)


Institution Year Position
Freelance Trainer/Facilitator. 2016. Present Wiseabap Engagement
Public Achievement, Northern Ireland 2003 - 2016 CEO
Achieve Enterprises, NI 2009 –2016 Board member/MD (Social Enterprise)
University of Minnesota 2003 & 2005 Visiting Lecturer – Youth and Conflict
Queens University, Belfast 2008 –2011 Part-time Lecturer, Graduate School of Education
University of Ulster 1998 - 2007 Part-time Lecturer
Youth Council for Northern Ireland 1998-2002 Community Relations Development Officer
University of Ulster, School of Education 1996 – 1998 Research Officer, Speak Your Piece project

Recent Publications
Smyth, P, (2012) Citizenship and the Ceasefire Generation, in Adolescent Behaviour, Bassani C (Ed), Psychology Research Progress, Nova, New York
Smyth, P, (2007) The Stumbling Progress of Community Relations Youth Work in Northern Ireland, 1968 – 2005, in Magnusson, D and Baizerman, M (eds), Work With Youth in Divided and Contested Societies, Rotterdam: Sense Publishing
VeLure Roholt, R, and Smyth P (2007) Civic Youth Work and Implications for Service Learning – Lessons from Northern Ireland, in McIlrath, L and Bernard, M. Civic Engagement and Higher Education- International Perspectives, Ashgate, London

Recent Presentations
Young Digital Team Competition – keynote speaker at launch event on policing and youth engagement, March 2016
Social Justice Initiative/ENAR seminar in Brussels, Presenting on young people and policing - November 2012
Atlantic Philanthropies – international youth network, July 2011
UNESCO Conference on the Violent Radicalisation of Youth, Manama, Bahrain, June 2008
World Movement for Democracy Conference, Kiev, Ukraine, April 2008

• 2011 (July) represented Public Achievement at Atlantic Philanthropies youth network, NY
• 2010 (Feb) ran training in Lebanon for youth workers, teachers and NGO leaders in Baalbek and Tripoli
• 2008, November, led delegation to Israel, field trip with Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service looking at road safety innovations with young drivers
• 2008, February, Led training in Beirut, Lebanon for British Council to local NGOs
• 2007, October, Hosted visit of Basque Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport to Northern Ireland.
• 2006 November, led Northern Ireland policy level delegation in exchange with Basque Government
• 2006 October, participant in US State Department visit via Boston College, looking at eGovernance
• 2006 April, delegation to Israel looking at collaboration with Jewish and Palestinian communities
• 2004, Nov/Dec led delegation to Jordan and Israel, looking at Youth Work in Contested Spaces
• 2004, March – trained students across Palestinian West Bank in democratic youth work practice
• 2003 and 2005 (July) University of Minnesota, Youth Studies – lecture on youth cultures in Northern Ireland
• 2002 (November) Bigli University, Istanbul, Turkey – course for Turkish and Palestinian Students on Democratic Practice in Youth Work.

• Board member Achieve Enterprises – 2009 – 2016
• Advisor to the Forum for Victims and Survivors 2012 – 2013
• Member of the YouthNet Executive Committee, 2009 - 2011
• EU funding Committee Member, Community Relations Council 2004 – 2008
• Board Member, St Columb’s Park House Reconciliation Centre, Derry, March 2005 – Jan 2007


Educational pathway

I have a degree in Fine Art (BA Hons) and two Masters Degrees - an MA in Youth and Community Studies (Brunel) and an MSc in Innovation Management in the Public Sector.

I also have an advanced diploma in Sustainable Investment in the 3rd Sector and a certificate in Counselling Skills in Education.

I have taught on youth work programmes in Northern Ireland and the USA for both undergraduates and post-graduate students.

Fields of training expertise

  • (intermediate) Bullying & Harassment
  • (expert) Campaigning & Awareness Raising
  • (advanced) Change Management
  • (expert) Citizenship Education
  • (expert) Coaching & Mentoring
  • (expert) Communication Skills
  • (advanced) Conflict Management & Mediation
  • (advanced) Creativity & Art
  • (advanced) Crisis Management
  • (advanced) Diversity & Anti-Racism
  • (intermediate) Drama & Theatre
  • (beginner) Environment & Ecology
  • (intermediate) Equal Opportunities
  • (advanced) Evaluation & Assessment
  • (advanced) Event Management
  • (advanced) Financial Management
  • (advanced) Fundraising
  • (advanced) Gender Awareness & Mainstreaming
  • (intermediate) Global Education
  • (advanced) Group Dynamics & Motivation
  • (intermediate) Health & Prevention
  • (intermediate) Human Rights
  • (advanced) Intercultural Learning
  • (advanced) International Youth Work
  • (beginner) Labour Rights & Employment
  • (advanced) Leadership Development
  • (expert) Lobbying & Advocacy
  • (advanced) New Information Technologies
  • (beginner) Open Space Technology
  • (advanced) Organizational Management
  • (beginner) Outdoor & Experiential Training
  • (expert) Peace Education
  • (advanced) People Management & Cooperation
  • (advanced) Personal Development & Empowerment
  • (advanced) Project Management
  • (advanced) Public Relations & Marketing
  • (intermediate) Social Inclusion & Exclusion
  • (intermediate) Time Management
  • (advanced) Training of Trainers
  • (intermediate) Valorisation of Projects (DEOR)
  • (advanced) Volunteer Programmes
  • (advanced) Youth Exchanges
  • (beginner) Youth Information Work
  • (expert) Youth Participation & Initiatives
  • (advanced) Youth Policy
  • (intermediate) Youth Violence & Criminality
  • (advanced) Youth Worker Training

Knowledge about institutions and programmes

  • (advanced) Erasmus+ (KA1) Youth Exchanges
  • (intermediate) Erasmus+ (KA1) Training & Networking
  • (intermediate) Erasmus+ (KA2) Transnational Youth Initiatives
  • (advanced) Erasmus+ (KA2) Strategic Partnerships
  • (beginner) Erasmus+ (KA2) Capacity Building (other countries in the World)
  • (intermediate) Erasmus+ (KA3) Youth Policy Meetings
  • (advanced) European Solidarity Corps Volunteering
  • (intermediate) European Youth Centres (CoE)
  • (beginner) European Youth Foundation (CoE)
  • (beginner) Solidarity Fund for Youth Mobility (CoE)
  • (beginner) European Institutions
  • (beginner) International Youth Structures
  • (beginner) Private Foundations
  • (beginner) United Nations

Working with specific target groups

  • (expert) Children
  • (intermediate) Families
  • (intermediate) Gay, Lesbian, Bi & Transgender work
  • (advanced) Intercultural Teams
  • (advanced) Marginalized & Excluded Youth
  • (intermediate) Men's Issues & Groups
  • (intermediate) Minorities
  • (intermediate) Religious Youth Groups
  • (intermediate) Women's Issues & Groups
  • (expert) Young People in/from Conflict Areas
  • (intermediate) Young People with a Mental Disability
  • (intermediate) Young People with a Physical Disability
  • (intermediate) Young People with a Sensory Disability

Experience with specific geographical regions

  • (intermediate) Africa
  • (intermediate) Eastern Europe and Caucasus
  • (intermediate) Euro-Mediterranean Co-operation
  • (advanced) European Cooperation
  • (intermediate) Global Cooperation
  • (advanced) North-North Cooperation
  • (intermediate) North-South Co-operation
  • (beginner) South East Europe

Trainer references

This profile was last modified on 2019-05-12

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