Manchester City Council’s Youth Justice Intensive Support Supervision Team, working in partnership with full-time Mentors from The Growth Company, are having great success in their work with young offenders (aged 14-18), with the latest figures showing that only one of the current cohort (of eighteenyoung offenders) are NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training).
The service, provided by two Mentors from The Growth Company within the wider team, provides intensive support to help these young people deal with their barriers and challenges and enable them to access education, training and employment, and help to divert them from re-offending.
The ability of these Mentors to engage and build a rapport with the young people has been commended by management in Manchester’s Youth Offending Team, who have just contracted with The Growth Company to deliver the service for a further year.
Vanessa O’Dare (Team Manager – Court/ISS at the Manchester Youth Justice team) highlighted that the latest figures are a fantastic achievement as this cohort have multiple barriers to overcome.
Vanessa commented on The Growth Company Mentors; ‘Bev and Theo engage with some of our most vulnerable, complex and volatile young people. They help motivate hard-to-reach young people to develop confidence in their ability to develop skills to prepare them for work or training, and seek appropriate opportunities through hands on support. They recognise the difficulties and needs the young people face, and work towards breaking down barriers to engagement, working in close partnership with other professionals’.
One of the recent collaborations for the team was with Radio Regen, in partnership with North Manchester FM. This involved the delivery of a series of sessions aimed at boosting the employability and communication skills of Manchester Youth Justice beneficiaries through community radio training.
Between September and November 2016, a ‘taster’ session and a course of five 2-hour sessions were delivered by two North Manchester FM trainers, held between the Factory Youth Zone and North Manchester FM studios. Fifteen young people engaged in at least one session, with six completing the course.
Course outcomes, activities and materials were planned collaboratively by Radio Regen, Manchester Youth Justice and North Manchester FM, and the course structure and materials drew heavily on Employment FM, a 3-year project, coordinated by Radio Regen, to assess the value of community radio training in building employability and communication skills. The course was also structured to enable participants to achieve a number of AQA Unit Award Scheme qualifications on completion of the course.
The course was re-run in March 2017 until May 2017 and four young people successfully completed the programme, gaining AQA.
Both Mentors from The Growth Company are also trained in the delivery of ‘That Reading Thing’ and ‘Communicate’; courses designed to improve literacy skills as well as to develop self-confidence and communication. These programmes are available service-wide.