DCU Alumni Awardee 2022 Derek Cleary

Derek Cleary is the director of Localise National Youth Volunteers, an organisation which engages young people all over Ireland in community volunteer projects through their primary school, secondary school and local community groups.   

Derek’s work focuses on engaging young people in meaningful grassroot volunteering enabling the creation of the civic and philanthropic leaders of our time.  Localise Youth Volunteers is passionate about enabling young people to fulfil their potential while positively contributing to the community and society as a whole.  

Derek and his team created Ireland's first second level national youth volunteer programme in 2007.  To date over 50,000 youth volunteers have been engaged in over 5000 community service projects nationwide generating over €20 million euros worth of community service work.  

Derek and his team are about to launch the National Youth Volunteering Portfolios, an online system recognising and recording the skills and attributes gained by young people through youth volunteering.  This portfolio will create a pathway into further and higher education through recognition by third level institutes supported by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.  DCU is one of the key partners in this process. 

Derek believes that we are now at a national inflexion point recognising the urgency and demand for young people to reconnect and be valued within society.  The work of Localise is providing immediate solutions to meet this demand enabling young people from different socio economic and cultural backgrounds to make a real and lasting difference in their community.


BSc Education and Training, 2004