Inspiring young people
15 September 2016
Young people in one of Cardiff’s Communities First areas have had the chance to design their own work experience placements thanks to the University’s Schools Partnership Project.
The CAER Young Peoples’ Opportunities summer programme – funded by the Schools Partnership Project - has worked with a group of teenagers from Michaelston Community College in Ely to help raise their aspirations and confidence, and direct their own learning.
Along with a team from the University and local community development organisation Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE), the young people created bespoke work opportunities which engaged them positively in their community and heritage and which have earned them Time Credits.
Placements have seen one student volunteering at a local hub and helping out at a story café aimed at families with small children. During the summer, the student progressed from observer to developing and delivering activities to families.
Another young person got involved with the Cardiff University project, Trek to Connect, helping to develop a heritage-focused geocache loop around Trelai fields, Caerau with other local volunteers, while another undertook research into their family history with archivists at the Glamorgan Archive.
The programme also gave the youngsters the chance to try new things, such as skiing for beginners, a fishing trip and a teen cookery course.
David Wyatt, School of History, Archaeology and Religion who led the project said: “'The CAER Young Peoples’ Opportunity Project is a really ground breaking pilot which is providing new life chances and employability skills for a group of young people who are facing some significant challenges.
“It brings together a whole range of partners: from local secondary school teachers, to community development workers, to Cardiff University academics and heritage professionals to try to address issues around behaviour and exclusion; re-engaging young people both with school and also opening up their eyes to new opportunities beyond their time in secondary education."
He added: "This is currently a pilot project, but it is has been extremely successful and I hope that we will be able to sustain and develop the initiative with our community partners at ACE - it has huge potential and could be rolled out in many other Communities First locations."
The CAER Young Peoples' Opportunities project is part of the ongoing CAER Heritage project, which is reconnecting the communities of Ely and Caerau with their heritage and developing educational opportunities in accord with the Welsh Government's Fusion: Tackling Poverty through Culture programme.
The Schools Partnership Project is a Research Councils UK initiative that supports researchers’ direct engagement with students and brings contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning to enhance and enrich the curriculum.