You all know the signs – an unseemly amount of laughter at early morning bus stops, sky-rocketing sales of pencils and notebooks – school is back in session. So, in honour of the autumnal return to academia, this week’s Creative Councils Cluster is centered around education and youth development – highlighting projects that aim to teach, train, inspire and expand opportunities to young and old, particularly to those who have often fallen through the cracks in years past.
Derbyshire’s Uni-Fi is designed to help give young people in care the best possible opportunities to succeed once they leave the system. In partnership with the University of Derby, after care providers and successful graduates and business people, the programme aims to show young people in care what success can look like and get them on the right track for the future. The project will include open days at the university, tailored seminars, specially run events within communities, and the creation of a mentoring schemes with local role models that begins in year 4 – all of which will help create opportunities and options that these kids might have previously seen as closed off to them. While the overall hope is to direct more of these young people towards applying to university, Uni-Fi will also use this scheme to help those who don’t choose to go to university find other mediums for success.
Also in the cards is a plan to create a snazzy app that would allow young people in care even further access to non-traditional support, including giving them a voice in how the project is designed through crowd-sourcing topics and ideas to tailor events towards their interests.
What they need: Derbyshire are looking for a few good people to get their project going, including – a designer to help create logo and branding, a tech wiz to design a fresh app tailored towards young people and a facilitator that can help link up the council and the local business community. Additionally, they are asking any councils or organisations who have created anything similar to Uni-Fi to please get in touch to share their experiences and advice on the matter.
Nottingham City Council wants children to love books. Currently marked as the authority with the worst performance rate for reading ability, they are stepping up to change that through innovative projects that not only promote increased literacy in children, but work to create a passionate community around reading.
Built on the success of Nottingham Year of Reading, which was launched last March, their Creative Council idea, Read Ability, is designed to give young people the best possible chances at life, starting with better reading skills. The programme is made up of a plethora of different activities from leaving comics and word games to be left on public transport for kids to pick up, to trying to break the world record for “the greatest number of adults reading the same piece of literature aloud to children simultaneously in one place at one time!” They will stage events like Books on the Beach and special storytimes in the Old Market Square at Nottingham Riviera, as well as a volunteer mentoring scheme to support young people both in and out of school. Alongside these offline events, they are planning to increase access to e-books, computer tablets and develop better online reading resources.
What they need: Nottingham City Council are looking for local businesses, community role models and people looking to do good with a passion for reading to get involved in their volunteer mentoring programme as well as various other activities on the agenda.
Carmarthenshire County Council has been developing their project, the Regional Learning Partnership for South West Wales, since 2007, to “transform the way education and regeneration partners work together to help provide a better future for learners across the region,” maximising the potential opportunities available to those seeking education. The RLP does not directly deliver educational services, but acts as a facilitator between partners, supporting the development of projects through their Three Key Pillars:
- Partnership Brokerage and Development
- Regional Learning and Skills Observatory
- Regional E-Portal (currently in the pilot stage)
These pillars have already led to multiple successes within the project, including the first Regional Strategy for Higher Education, and collaborative bids between partners, including that of the Welsh Government for a Regional Network Advocate Provider (a group which is now house within the RLP team itself). In addition, the Regional Learning and Skills Observatory compiles data from the education and regeneration sectors – covering everything from population and transport to tourism and health, including their latest mapping of secondary schools in the region. The result is a more complete picture of the region, which is then used to develop curriculum planning and policy, as well as helping to pinpoint investment opportunities.
What they need: The RLP would like to hear from similar types of partnerships in any sector (Third Sector, Local Government, Higher and Further Education, Employment and Training Providers, Private Sector, etc…) to learn more about how they share their information and ideals for a set of common purposes and how to best identify areas that will appeal to all partners.
For more programmes surrounding youth development and education, be sure to check out these other Creative Councils ideas: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s Rotherham Ready, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s Future Careers Related Learning Programme, Somerset County Council’s Somerset Children and Young People’s Contract and Thurrock Council’s Next Top Boss.
As always, if you have one or more of the skills we’ve listed above and want to get involved, sign up or sign in to your Simpl account to comment, bid and get in touch!