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“You can’t bluff it” – How one Windmills Champion is helping her mentees

April 23rd, 2014 by Suzanne Sweeney

Laura Eccles is one of a group of mentors recruited by Merseyside Youth Association to work with unemployed young people as part of the Windmills supported Talent Match programme.

After engaging in a Windmills capacity building programme to utilise aspects of the tool-kit Laura felt the experience had enabled her to more positively mentor the young people she is supporting.

She said……

“Getting a chance to use the tools in the programme enabled me to do it for myself, discover my dreams and plans and relook at my own life. I can’t expect a young person to be able to see where they are going with their life if I haven’t been prepared to do it too. The young people I support are switched on – they can see through you and know if you’re bluffing when you’re mentoring them”.

Laura felt that mentoring these young people was “about being that someone that they haven’t got; opening up a world of opportunities and giving them the support to look at different learning, training or development opportunities”

About the Windmills tool kit that Laura is using to help her mentor she said……

“Using models such as WLPG has helped young people to realise that by doing one thing in say, “learning”, encourages them to share their experiences with friends in similar situations  helping them make more informed decisions, which is “giving” too.  They’re, creating their own community doing this and also building their networking skills.
The Skills Cards have been fantastic. Some of the young people don’t even have the confidence to look you in the eye; they believe they have nothing to offer. Using the cards helps to draw out their skills and qualities in a non-directive, non-intrusive way. It’s a really positive experience seeing their confidence grow right in front of your eyes; their faces light up when they realise they have in fact got something to offer.
The Golden Ticket is what starts to create their personal pathway. Some young people cannot even see until tea-time but using this activity has helped them to have some organisation to their life. For some they have looked at five years, others a year is enough at the moment.
Using the model of the ‘week of your life’ from No Regrets has also shown them that they are only on Tuesday – they may feel they have not made the steps they wanted to but they are young and have still got a lot of time to create the life they want.
It’s been useful that the tools are so flexible and interactive but you have got to know what the individual you are working with needs and what they are ready for, so you can choose what is appropriate for them at that time in their life”

The Talent Match project is a three year initiative for young people unemployed for over six months; if you wish to know more about this work then please contact Helen Wakefield at Helen@windmillsonline.co.uk

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