MYL youth engagement teams operate across the City of Manchester and are predominately street based targeting young people who are not accessing education, employment or training (NEET).
Youth engagement sessions mostly occur after 4:00pm and at weekends because this is the time when we know young people need our support most. The teams target young people between the ages of 13 and 24 with the key aim to provide positive role models, boundaries to acceptable behaviour and to steer young people away from issues such as anti-social behaviour (ASB), gang culture, substance and alcohol abuse and wider risky activities such as homelessness and inappropriate sexual relationships. A key focus for 16-24’s is to support a successful transition into further education, training and employment.
Youth engagement workers relate to the young people within their communities with a targeted approach to connect with those who are furthest from mainstream programmes and are often the hardest to reach and work with. Our model is based on developing a trusting relationship, mentoring support, brokerage and guidance around further opportunities, training and development, and support to sustain re-engagement.
MYL promotes active citizenship through participation in our workshops in employability skills, money management, sexual health, personal responsibility, substance abuse and addressing wider anti-social behaviours. Our youth engagement staff have strong partnerships and work collaboratively with agencies such as Youth Offending Teams, Police, Fire Service, NHS, schools and wider voluntary groups such as Brook, 42nd Street, MIND and Eclypse.
Young Ambassador Programme
A particular success of our youth engagement model has been to bring performing arts to those young people who would not normally participate in such activities. Our key partner Odd Arts Theatre Company has worked closely with MYL to offer street based drama, dance, music and filming making sessions, often focusing on the issues and topics of most importance to young people. This work been developed further to include peer education and mentoring projects where young people are encouraged to support their peers providing opportunities to attend leadership courses as part of the MYL Young Ambassador Programme.
Providing Vital Support
By focusing on those with a potential to be affected by negative behaviours, MYL offers an alternative, an opportunity for personal development and progression routes back into education and training that is vital to young people. Our youth engagement work is focused on reconnecting those young people who have become disconnected with mainstream services with opportunities so they can realise their full potential and make successful transitions to adulthood.
“I’m 19 and been attending MYL since I was 15 year old on the CSE and Study programmes. I left school early and got on with being an independent care leaver for about a year but then got held up with a gun, threatened, made homeless and was alone. l tried to get help but nobody cared so I went back to MYL as they always help no matter what. They supported me, got me the help I needed and now I am back on track.”
“Thank you so much for going into the school and making the relationship with my son, he hasn’t stopped talking about you. All the trouble he is in with the police, council, school and friends he really wanted to work with you. Anything you can do to keep him out of trouble will be much appreciated, please anything or he will end up locked away. I appreciate everything you do at MYL and all your hard work.”
Case Study – Michael
Michael came to MYL through the employability service as a NEET young person; he had not been out of his home for over a year and had been bullied in school and in the community.
He was support by an MYL engagement worker 3 times a week to build his confidence & self-esteem and get him from ready to return to training to fulfil his ambition to become a chef.
He was referred to the MYL detached service and is now part of the young ambassadors programme and leads social action working with the team.
He is leading a gardening project and attends sports sessions which he enjoys. He has enrolled at his local college to study catering and continues to be supported by youth workers and his confidence grows and grows.
“Paul and Zara have been great helping me and l will be getting a certificate from my course soon and will go on placement at a restaurant.”