The President’s Award is a self-development programme for young people aged 14 -25 which has been proven to enhance confidence and wellbeing through participation in personal, physical and community challenges.

It is a direct challenge from the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, to all young people to dream big and realise their potential.

Gaisce Awards are non-competitive and self-directed: participants choose their own activities, goals and projects with the support of their President’s Award Leader (or PAL). There are more than 1,000 President’s Award Leaders working or volunteering in a variety of organisations all across Ireland, supporting and mentoring Gaisce participants.

Gaisce was established in 1985 – the UN International Year of Youth – as the national youth award and Ireland’s highest recognition of a young person’s achievement and voluntary contribution. To date, more than a quarter of a million young people have achieved their Gaisce Award. And counting …

Today more than 20,000 young people under 26 register to pursue their own Gaisce Award journey annually.

“Gaisce is driven by a commitment to a better society, by the enthusiasm, ability and resilience of young people. Through the Gaisce programme, young people are encouraged and guided so that their innate talents and abilities, as well as their sense of citizenship and social agency, can be realised to their full potential” – President Michael D. Higgins, 2021

You will find Gaisce President’s Award Leaders in:

  • Secondary schools
  • Third level institutions
  • Second-chance and supported education
  • Across the community and voluntary sector
  • Disability organisations
  • Sporting organisations
  • Youth justice, prison service and probation service
  • Youth services
  • Uniformed organisations
  • Organisations working with young refugee and asylum seekers
  • And more

By delivering Gaisce – The President’s Award, an organisation becomes a Gaisce Award Partner, or GAP. There are currently more than 800 active GAPs in Ireland.

There are three levels of Gaisce Award – Bronze, Silver and Gold.

“Gaisce has achieved so much by enabling so many to embark on a journey in which young people across the island have demonstrated not only a personal determination, but also a commitment to the service of their communities and of their fellow citizens. I commend all of those who have participated in Gaisce since its inception for their efforts, efforts that cross such a wide range of activities and innovations that have enriched both themselves individually as well as their local communities and wider society.”

 – President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Patron of Gaisce