Young people (UASC) learn about volunteering

A group of asylum seeking children (UASC), from the Integrate Coventry Project participated in a session to help them with their future plans and goal setting.

A group of 22  unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) around 17 years old, from the Integrate Coventry Project  participated in a session to help them with  their future plans, and goal setting where they learnt how volunteering can help them gain experience and skills to add to their college studies and longer term goals.

The Session was a partnership between Karima, the UASC Officer at CRMC, Angela, one of the English as a Second Language tutors and Ruth from VAC who used some of the Skills for Volunteering course to create an interactive and vibrant event for the young people. We pooled our different skills and knowledge to great effect. Karima commented: -

“it was an enjoyable experience for all of us and – I must say – a great collaboration and team effort”

The group had mixed levels of English, but we wanted them to experience a bit of what it would be like during their  next transition from school to college students. We felt that the idea of volunteering as a next step for these young people along with their studies was a perfect way to generate confidence, new networks of friendship and support, new skills and experience, and to find employment in the future.

Despite some of their difficulties understanding the English, they all still  enjoyed the type of learning experience - being in the Belgrade’s Screen Room, which was a lovely space to work in. The students were also able to make friends with people from different lesson groups. The session helped the young people to consider their priorities, including improving their English Language skills.  As well as recognise the potential difficulties they might experience at college where they were also to think of their next steps.

All three members of staff involved were surprised about the numbers who attended and at their willingness to participate to the best of their ability, but worked together seamlessly to make sure their support needs were met, for explanations and questions.

Plans are being made to run more sessions in the autumn term with the young people, although with fewer numbers and trialling different learning techniques –such as creating an imaginary character who goes through the transition from ESOL and school to college. We are looking forward to these exciting opportunities.

Our new team learnt many things from the experience, which will benefit the Integrate Coventry Programme as a whole, while supporting and raising the aspirations of young people to make the most of their new life in Coventry and the UK.