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Remember why you went into this job…

January 8th, 2015 by Suzanne Sweeney

This is what Michael Binns, a member of the Children in Care Council for Liverpool Council responded at our event, when asked, “What advice would you give to those of us working with young people?” It was a priceless moment and perhaps for many of us a comment that we have not considered for a while.

We knew we were not being authentic, if on a day themed around young people, we did not give them a voice. How do we create the opportunities to really hear what young people have to say? To hear about their experiences? The lessons they have learned? The way they may do it differently? Consider in your own practice, where you work, how do you create the chance to hear a young person’s voice?

The panel of young people supported us when we discussed the responsibility element of the model and we asked for their views about how they had taken responsibility and how they were now beginning to take responsibility for others. Along with Michael we were joined by Sophie White who also sits on the Children in Care Council and Anna Sharples who had been on the Growth Programme run in partnership with Windmills.

Sophie discussed the impact that having a fantastic role model had on her and how this particular teacher had helped Sophie break the cycle of behaviours that had affected her early life and had now enabled her to go to University and train to be a teacher herself. Sophie has been inspired to support others in the same way that her teacher inspired her and on the day she spent some time talking with Anna who at 13 is still facing some challenges in the path she is creating for herself. We saw it on the day that young people supporting other young people works.  So again, let those of us who work with young people consider how we enable them to do this.

The project we are working on with Knowsley Council and Sefton EBP provides one way of doing this. The project is a great opportunity for Knowsley schools and local apprentices to collaborate in a peer mentoring programme and in the New Year we will be working with Knowsley Park pupils, amongst others, to develop a creative model of local apprentice support for high school pupils. The school wants to take this forward with its Y11’s supporting Y9’s. Again if you want to know more about this work and how, in partnership we are improving the ability of young people to take responsibility for their own futures, then get in touch.

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