Business Education Events (BEE) is a delivery partner on Prevista’s Innovation Fund youth programme funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. Through the Innovation Fund we re-engage young people with education, enhance their employability and help them into first employment through one-to-one support combined with group roleplays, drama, art, music and sport sessions.
BEE is a small organisation set up by Karen O’Connor and Lisa Quinn who, after successful corporate careers, decided to utilise their vast experience to make a difference to London’s disaffected youth. They have designed innovative roleplay programmes that prepare young people for the world of work, enhancing their employability through mock interviews, discussion sessions and exercises that bring out their motivations, desires and ambitions.
Throughout the autumn term of 2014 BEE worked with a group of 18 students at Northolt High School in Ealing who had been identified as being at risk of becoming NEET. Alongside bespoke one-to-one support, the pupils took part in a range of fun, interactive sessions which engaged them with the programme and helped them to discover the underlying reasons for their poor performance, how it was negatively affecting their future prospects and how they could turn things around.
The project has had a hugely positive impact on the young people involved. They appreciate time away from the classroom, where they can collect and rationalise their thoughts. One young person commented:
“We look forward to working with Lisa and Karen and what they are going to do with us each week, it is nice to spend time with just them with no others around”.
The positive impact of the programme is shown by a demonstrable improvement in the behaviour of the group. Of the 18 that participate 83% have had fewer recorded behaviour incidents and 72% have improved their attendance.
Sessions the young people have taken part in include:
Fashion Statement workshop
BEE used a roleplay which is employed as a recruitment tool by John Lewis. It was therefore not just a great ice-breaker but also a way of introducing the world of work to the young people and teaching them what they would be looking for if they were an HR manager observing a group recruitment exercise.
Students were asked to work together to create a ‘ground-breaking fashion statement’. Using a subject that is of interest to young people, BEE developed this team exercise to establish key features of the individual young person’s personality. An Individual Action Plan could then be designed around their specific needs. By asking the students to act as ‘candidates’ for a job they learnt how important it is to come across as a willing and engaged participant.
Mood Board Session
The aim here was to spend some time brainstorming with the students on what they want out of life…Careers? Money? Love? Happiness? Travel? They presented their hopes and dreams on a mood board, which meant that they could get creative, be silly, have some ‘down-time’, but still give BEE the information it needed to tailor one-to-one provision accordingly.
Karen explains, “once we found out what they wanted – we could work back to see what they needed to do to realise their dreams”.
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