We want to concentrte in training young people in the soft skills, so they can adapt or re-integrate back into mainstream society. We partner with an organisation called, Social Butterfly Effect (SBE) who work with young people who have been identified to be at risk of exclusion or have experience a custodial sentence. SBE deliver the Personal and Social Development aspect of the project and create an inclusive environment when working with groups of young people in education / learning institutions, who have been identified to be disaffected or 'at risk'.
SBE predominantly deliver inclusion projects in mainstream education and engage students in programmes that confront the issues that can lead to exclusion. SBE design bespoke workshops that are tailored to suit the school and student group within Primary and Secondary education. The aim of the programmes are to confront attitudes and behaviours that contribute to getting excluded and challenge negative perceptions about education and learning whilst at the same time illustrate the dangers involved in making negative choices.
The workshops are delivered over 6 - 8 weeks and incorporate discussions, debates, role play, group work, Documentaries, short films and team building and drama activities. The workshops are themed and cover topics tackling subjects such as Empowerment (Abuse of power / Bullying / Authority), Choice (Exclusion / Inclusion / Antisocial behaviour), Belonging (School / Family / Gangs), Independence (Responsibility / Dependencies), Opportunity (Response to exclusion / Creative content) and Leaders (Students presentation to family member(s) / Heads of School / Special Guests).
The activities are centred around choices and consequences and allow students to identify alternative ways of responding to authority. We use the students experiences of exclusion as real life case studies and work with the examples set by group. The workshops are intense and provide the students with self reflection techniques and the opportunity to make a positive decision. We highlight the fact that a student's behaviour can change and so can their reputation. By promoting self reflection, the students identify coping mechanism that allow them to manage their behaviours and attitudes towards education and learning.
By developing an Inclusive practice, we aim to confront the behaviours and attitudes which can all lead to negative reactions and consequences within education and life at large. We take an alternative approach to tackling difficult behaviours by incorporating drama activities and interactive resources. We confront negative attitudes to education / social scenarios and use the students experiences as case studies and examples.
We work with the most disaffected young people within mainstream education and deliver workshops that engage, empower, confront and develop team skills and self esteem. We challenge the negative actions which are demonstrate week to week by discussion and by using the students own 'real life' scenarios as a point of discussion. Communicating to the students requires a variety of methods and we frequently organise meetings, one to ones, parents student meetings and teacher / students mediations.
The workshops include a variety of teaching methods to engage and confront the issues mentioned and SBE incorporate visits by ex offenders, prison professionals and special guests, who can share their experiences with the students for the benefit of making the right decisions. Throughout the weeks we allocate roles and responsibilities and students are assigned roles such as the photographer, workshop mentor and presentation leader, so all students get the opportunity to take ownership of the project and create content for the final presentation. The content is then collated and a final short video is produced by Social Butterfly Effect (SBE) to accompany their screening in the final session. Generating Genius becomes a powerful unit when working with Social Butterfly, because you have a great combination of teaching young people at risk , the value of hard and soft skills.
Marcus is one of our students who is now on an Apprenticeship with a small Tech company in London. He tells his story:
' I left the young people's offending Unit and was able to join the Generating Genius programme two days after. It was great to be able to go straight into this programme. Otherwise I would have gone back to the Gangs and the bad influences in my area. We learn't about interviewing skills and confidence building, how to network with the right people. I had to write my own CV. We also learn t how to do computer coding - python and JAVA. After four weeks I went for an interview as for an apprenticeship with for an Animation company. I was up against students who were not ex-offenders and I got the position...It is fantastic, my life has been turned around. I know that without this I would probably be back in prison.'
The first set of funds from Global - Giving has already helped us to set up a programme for 30 young ex-offenders like Marcus who we have been able to place in real jobs or on great apprenticeships. The money has literally changed lives. The chances of these young people re-offending has been significantly reduced. Many will now have the skills to find jobs - tech skills are in high demand. Many are now coding better than their trainers.
We would like to do this again with 30 more. The model is simple we identify 30 young people as they are about to leave prison. They have four weeks of social and technical training. We place them on an apprenticeship with a Tech company and they are now on a journey to a new and productive life.
The project has made real progress with a great blend of soft-skills and technical computer skills , which will be given to offenders near the end of their sentence. This of course continues after release. This project will give these young people a direct step into a work based apprenticeship. Upon release, we give students an apprenticeship soft skills education for four weeks. When this is completed the students will then be able to apply to a range of technology companies, who are looking to provide employment opportunities for some of our young people.
The funds received will help us to develop a top class soft-skills programme - this will be in association with Social Butterfly Effect, an inclusion company that engages hard to reach at risk young people, we confront key issues that will act as a barrier to success.
The project has gathered momentum. We now have a significant amount of teach companies who have signed up, willing to offer our young people an interview after release on their apprenticeship programmes.
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