The Edge, Newham
Imagine if has worked in partnership with the London Borough of Newham for several years, designing and launching mini projects in the local community.
Case Managers (CMs) at Newham’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) are working with us to embed Assets for Success. The objective is to “level the employment playing field” for young people in Newham. Assets is being integrated into the YOS Initial Assessment Process, a 12-week process young people go through when entering the system.
Using the Assets for Success material pack, CMs engage young people in conversations about Assets. It is hoped that this will aid rapport building; CMs will be better able gauge the young person’s confidence levels and how they perceive themselves. This will help highlight areas that require further attention.
Improving specific Assets of their choosing will form part of the Graduate’s Education, Training and Employment Target (ETE). Currently goals are general, such as ‘attend college’ or ‘find employment’. Assets for Success offers the opportunity for more specific, achievable and meaningful goals.
Graduates will be supported to create an action plan to meet these goals based on every day, routine situations. This helps to ensure that small wins are celebrated, encouraging sustainable behavioural change.
Over the 12-week process, Assets will help young people realise what they have to offer and develop their ability to discuss this with others.
We are providing training for CMs at Newham as well as on hand support throughout the first few cohorts. This helps ensure that integration is successful and sustainable. It has been vital that Assets has only a minimal impact on CMs workloads. We have done this by incorporating Assets into an existing process in such a way that it complements the original aims of the process and fits into the existing timeline - and there’s no extra paperwork (phew!).
Time to Talk
This project is full of our favourite things: it’s one big conversation; progress is based on what we learn from collaborating; it’s full of unexpected discoveries and it has created valuable connections.
The conversations are guided by the Assets for Success framework, but in a looser way. Participants don’t rate themselves, but Assets are always a part of the discussion. Really, sessions are freestyled (or free-spiralled?) by participants – progress is a must, but direction of progress is up to them. We continuously adapt and flex our approach based on what we hear and learn from the group. Our objective is to create a safe space in which people can speak their minds, explore how they feel and create a plan for action.
Time to Talk with Newham has a specific focus on equality and diversity. We take time to share our experiences and discuss issues of importance to us. We share imagine if tools, tips and tricks about the art of conversation and relationship building, giving people the confidence to have these sometimes difficult conversations outside the safe space we’ve created.
The conversations with the Newham group were both powerful and empowering. It demonstrated that we are all teachers and learners at all times. We look forward to sharing our action plan to promote and protect diversity with you soon.
Psychological Model for Youth Work
We are in the process of developing a psychologically informed tool for integration into everyday conversations between youth workers and young people in Newham. Elements from our Assets for Success tool and others will be adapted to give youth workers greater confidence to initiate conversations, which often involve complex social situations and trauma.