Our future starts here!

2015-11-02 16:07:15 | Uncategorized

On Wednesday 28th October Astra attended the “Our future starts here” event at Norwich City Football club organised by Norfolk County Council, and 2 MINT young people took part by running workshops throughout the day for the delegates attending. Robert and Ben have been with MINT for over a year and are both now in paid employment – Robert works as a Curriculum Support Services staff member at City College Norwich and Ben works at both Waitrose and Tesco. The idea behind the event was to have young people from a variety of backgrounds run workshops for delegates working in support services and a range of organisations, promoting the things they need help with. From a MINT perspective this involved looking at the obstacles young people face in getting work and what help they need to overcome them. Other groups talked about being care leavers, being young parents and what it’s like to be part of the Youth Parliament.YP conference Robert and Ben together

Robert and Ben ran workshops throughout the day to around 20 people at a time, starting with a “Snowballing” activity to energise the group. Following this there was a group discussion about the obstacles young people can face when looking for employment – the sheer range of obstacles including OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), social anxiety and living rurally was an eye-opener for some. They then discussed the support needed to help young people and Astra told the groups about MINT and the services we provide. Robert and Ben have both been through the Customer Service Pre-Employment Project so they were able to explain what was involved in this and the impact it had on them. The delegates had a lot of questions for the boys, who answered them really well, and they had a real impact on the people they were talking to. Many came over to speak to them afterwards and congratulate them for doing such a good job.

We updated our twitter feed live throughout the day with photos and updates, and the event had a strong presence on social media with #norfolkfuture. At lunchtime Ben also gave a brilliant talk about his experiences from leaving school to the present day to the whole group of over 200 people. He impressed many people with his public speaking as he did this with confidence, clarity and without any notes to prompt him.

YP conference Ben talk

The event was a fantastic opportunity for young people to have their say and to be heard by the people who are there to help them. Next steps include potentially rolling out the event – or similar – to employers and other organisations who are currently further removed from support services. As a project we are always happy to get involved in events like this, especially when young people can be included.

A huge well done to Robert and Ben for their input and hard work!

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