Work the Change: An Exclusive Interview With Rosey Simonds

 In News

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We’ve heard about the Be the Change Academies, and the Create the Change project at schools, what is the new project, Work the Change, about?

Work the Change has grown out of a peer to peer education programme called Create the Change. That was about training up 13-14 year olds to train their younger peers on improving their communication skills. This new programme will build on that, also looking at communication skills, and getting young people training others, but this time we will look at employability skills.  We will focus on 15-16 year olds and looking to see how we can best position them to start developing their own experiences and skills so that they can develop a CV that reflects these qualities. We will have a particular emphasis on those pupils who lack confidence and would benefit from some extra help in this area, as well as understanding what employers want.

Why do you think that it is important to have this kind of training at school?

Given the challenges of the job market (nearly one third of the unemployment rate in the UK is composed of youth) there is a need for pupils to take responsibility and prepare themselves for life after school by developing skills and gaining work experience/volunteering while still at school. Those not going to college need to learn how to take opportunities that they are offered at school, as once they leave they will probably not get the same level of support.  We want to bridge the gap between what schools are providing and what employers want. We also want to build on what the schools are already doing and find where their gaps are, how we can provide added value to their programmes.

What is different about Work the Change?

As with many of PCI programmes we want the agenda to be set by young people in partnership with teachers. In this way students feel ownership for the programme.  We use drama and role play as a way of building up skills and looking at the situation from another’s viewpoint – this time that of future employers or work colleagues. We want young people who lack confidence and receive extra sessions to focus on self-assessment and building on their strengths.

Given 2 minutes; how would you convince a student to attend?

Work the Change in yourself.  Don’t leave it to chance. Discover how you can convince others that you are capable, by proving to yourself that you are. Learn how to take up opportunities and build your communication skills, find out what skills employers want and how you can help yourself to acquire them.  Don’t leave it to others. It’s up to you.

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