Cardiff Youth Service's award-winning Youth Mentoring Programme is an early intervention and prevention project. The programme is delivered to secondary schools and surrounding geographical communities, with delivery in Welsh also available. The project supports a range of young people that are identified as, or at risk of becoming, not engaged in education, employment or training (NEET). Whether young people are school-aged or have left school, they are able to receive this support. The purpose is to reduce the number of young people who are at risk, or are NEET, and to help them re-engage. We work with a range of young people aged 11-25, which include young people in mainstream education, educated outside of school, those at risk of homelessness, young parents, or individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Youth Mentors are qualified Youth and Community workers, and use a Youth Work approach that starts where the young people are at. They build relationships based on voluntary engagement and, through placing the young person's needs at the center of their work, young people are able to overcome issues and barriers to realise their full potential.
‘ I just wanted to say charl thank you for everything you’ve done for me honestly I mean it from the bottom of my heart you’ve done a lot for me over the short amount of the time, you really helped me to develop and mature and forget the old life I was living. Thank you so much thanks for being there for me during high school I’m very thankful’ (Young Person)
How does it work
The project is directed from Welsh Government policy, where the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework is set out to reduce the number of young people aged 11-25 who are NEET. This is achieved through local authorities, education providers and national partners working closely together to early identify young people at risk of becoming NEET through the Vulnerability Assessment Profile (VAP). Brokering support and working towards a succesful destination are the main aims of the project. The Youth Service also has a critical role to play in providing lead workers for young people who are most at risk of disengaging, as well as gaining intelligence about young people to support tracking. For more information on this strategy, click here.
Youth Mentors are placed within schools and other educational provisions, where they work with professionals to help identify young people through the VAP process. 1-1 support based on the young person's wellbeing, attainment and attendance is then subsequently provided. The school, the young person, or other professionals, refer the young person by completing a referral form. For more information about this click here.
Once a referral is complete and approved, the Youth Mentor will begin their journey with a young person based on a voluntary relationship. Through a STAR assessment, the Mentor will work with the young person to help identify their needs and create an action plan. This plan seeks to progress the young person through a series of steps tackling barriers to engagement. The young person will recieve weekly support in a setting that works best for them, which can include their home, school or in the community. The 1-1 support will continue until either the young person is ready to progress back into school, they have made improvements in their lives, or they have progressed into Employment, Education or Training.
Who we work with
To ensure positive outcomes for young people, we work with a range of partners and stakeholders. These include: young people's families, schools, Careers Wales, other educational providers, Emotional Wellbeing Service, Children's Services, employment services, Community groups, Youth Clubs and third sector organisations.
My son struggled for many years with anxiety depression and ocd, it got that bad that it was a struggle to get him to school. Without the help and support received from his Youth Mentor, over the last few years he wouldn’t have got an education! Even after recently leaving school, the Mentor has been a massive support not just to my eldest son too. I can’t thank him enough for going above and beyond for both my son’s, without his kindness, patience and understanding my son wouldn’t be the hard working driven boy he is now! Thank you! (Parent)
Why Youth Mentoring?
Our person-centred approach and working in a solution-focused way helps young people:
- Recognise their individual skills and abilities
- Overcome factors or issues stopping them from achieving their potential
- Navigate their education, employment or training options
- Identify suitable education or training courses
- Access the right services they need
- Gain a provided, positive relationship
- Receive the time and dedicated attention they deserve
- Find appropriate opportunities
- Improve their resilience
- Develop their individual wellbeing, attainment and attendance