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Challenger Troop CIC hosts European Delegation

On 26th April 2016, Challenger Troop CIC welcomed a European delegation of youth workers, who came to view our unique military-ethos programmes in action. Leading members of a consortium of agencies from the UK, Spain and Italy were on a week-long fact-finding mission as part of the pan-European “PATH TO A JOB” programme. The aim is to explore successful ways of supporting young people disengaged from education and to share their experiences with similar organisations in the South East.

Following an introduction to Challenger Troop by our CEO Simon Dean, the delegation then witnessed and joined in Discovery Week; week two of our core 12-week programme, which is run in partnership with participating schools. The focus of this week is physical fitness and students from 7 schools from across East Kent and Medway were being put through their paces on a vigorous TAB exercise before a run up a short, but steep, hill. Members of the delegation were keen to take part and, together with the Challenger Troop participants, completed all the morning drills and exercises, including a run up the infamous “Cardiac Hill”.

European delegation cardiac hill

Nicholas Ward, CEO of Friday People, a local Kent charity which helps young people rebuild their confidence and develop the practical experience that impresses employers and who is the delegation’s UK representative, said, “despite experiencing all that the British weather had to offer including snow, wind, rain and bright sunshine all in one morning, the delegation clearly enjoyed their experience with Challenger Troop and the answers to our questions will help youth workers across Europe develop a whole new approach to supporting disengaged young people.”

Challenger Troop CIC is one of five organisations across the UK that has been selected to take part in this pan-European initiative to share best practice and expand the capabilities of youth workers across the continent. This Erasmus + funded project is led in the UK by Friday People in partnership with Target Your Potential, a social enterprise working with businesses to help young jobseekers develop the skills and motivation they need to secure jobs and support their own local communities.

Simon Dean CEO Challenger Troop said, “We were delighted to host the delegation this morning and were proud to be able to showcase a small part of the work we are doing with young people. I am fully committed to working in partnership with other organisations and sharing best practice so we can all grow and develop the services we offer to the benefit of the young people we work with.”

More information on the PATH TO A JOB initiative and the various organisations involved can be found below:

PATH TO A JOB is designed to promote high-quality youth work. The project aims to foster the inclusion and employability of young people with fewer opportunities, to internationalise youth work and to open it up to cross-sector cooperation through the development of a database of innovative European good practices for youth inclusion through employability. In addition, we will develop ajoint comprehensive methodology for supporting young people with fewer opportunities in the path to a job as well as involving other sectors as VET, world of work, etc.

The project promotes empowerment and participation of young people through their involvement in all project phases (design, implementation and evaluation), the virtual mobility and the inclusion of local events to enable young people with disadvanatged backgrounds to connect with stakeholders (companies, public administrations and policy-makers).

Finally, the project aims to enhance digital integration in youth work through the implementation of a web portal for improving daily youth work (ICT-based assessment practices, monitoring, communication and cooperation with stakeholders), the promotion of OER (database and methodological guide) in different languages (English, Italian and Spanish) and ICT-based training resources aimed at youth workers to improve disadvantaged youth employability.

Friday People:

“The work that Friday People are undertaking is a brilliant example of thinking outside the box to get our youngsters into employment.” (Helen Grant, MP)

Friday People helps disadvantaged young jobseekers (aged 16-24) develop the expertise essential to securing employment. We use coaching to focus aspirations, structured training to meet skill gaps and practical supervised projects to demonstrate their ability to complete tasks accurately and on time.

To date, 69% of participants have moved into full time employment.

“The skills I learnt with Friday People are exactly what impressed my new employers”, (Chris – Friday People beneficiary)

Our team of specialist youth workers and volunteers rebuild through a combination of workshops and supervised community projects lead by the young jobseekers themselves. The experience of developing, researching and leading their own projects helps to rebuild fragile self-confidence and in the process, reveals abilities that would otherwise remain untapped.

The key to success has been to create work experience projects which not only inspire jobseekers but also enthuse employers. For example, Zach’s ambition was to secure a job in advertising but he lacked the credibility that only experience can offer – until he joined Friday People and the Maidstone River Festival project. Four months later he’s now working in London as an advertising

account manager having undergone 5 interviews in competition with 175 other applicants: “I succeeded because my new employers really wanted to talk about how I helped organise the River Festival. In fact, we spent 90% of every interview discussing how my team created an event that attracted 20,000 visitors”

Other organisations involved include:

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Posted: 28, April, 2016
by Challenger Troop

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"Outdoor learning is giving them back their childhood wonder and curiosity at new things, allowing them to experience the marvel of discovery and the learning that comes from taking risks"

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