How to use this exemplar to improve practice
You are invited to read the article and consider, individually or as a team, the following improvement questions:
- In your setting, in what ways do services engage with vulnerable young people? What opportunities are offered to them? What is your involvement in this?
- How well do you develop partnerships with organisations in other sectors who are working with the same groups of young people? What is your specific contribution to those partnerships?
- In your setting, how do you actively encourage vulnerable young people to achieve and progress?
- In your setting, how are young people gaining recognition for their achievements and the skills for life and skills for work that are developed through these?
Explore this exemplar
Glasgow Kelvin College’s Youth Access Programme was highlighted as an example of innovative community learning and development (CLD) practice during the inspection of the Smithycroft Secondary School learning community in North East Glasgow in November 2013. In particular, inspectors noted that participants are developing skills in IT and achieving accreditation; the programme has exceeded target numbers; and the College produces good quality self-evaluation reports which are used to improve services.
What was done?
The Youth Access Programme supports young people in the east of Glasgow to develop their skills and confidence through creative technologies based on arts and cultural activities. Young people are encouraged to access a network of local learning centres in the evenings and weekends where youth workers, working with College tutors, engage young people in activities such as:
- music creation
- video editing
- website creation
- recreational use of the internet
- networked games.
These activities are designed to support the development of transferable IT skills but also to support the development of social skills and the ability of young people to interact positively with adults.
The programme is well established and currently delivers over 25 sessions each week across 16 venues. A total of 1200 young people enrol annually and the average weekly attendance is over 300.
Key strengths of the programme
- The programme blends youth work approaches and college learning resources to engage young people. The College employs a youth work team who lead the programme within 16 community and college venues across the east of the city. The programme is based on the development of trusted relationships built by youth work staff and young people. This leads to a stable and positive environment in which learning and assessment can take place. Young people negotiate their own learning and are encouraged to develop their confidence and interest in new skills.
- Young people are actively encouraged to achieve and progress. They are able to gain accredited awards for their work including college certificates, Dynamic Youth, John Muir and Arts Awards. There are also opportunities for young people to volunteer within the programme and this is recognised through Saltire Awards and Youth Achievement Awards at Silver level or above.
- There are over 20 local partner organisations that contribute to success of the programme, including community facilities, local youth work providers, schools and the police. The Youth Access programme is funded by Glasgow Kelvin College, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and Glasgow Housing Association. Youth work providers work well together through the North East Glasgow Strategic Youth Alliance and local youth ‘Hub Caps’.
- The programme is a key part of Glasgow Kelvin College’s response to improving access and equality of opportunity, particularly for young people in need of more choices and more chances. It has already demonstrated considerable success in engaging a wide range of young people in lifelong learning opportunities within their communities. It is also successful in encouraging young people who are at significant risk of excluding themselves from employment, education or training, to sustain engagement with formal learning opportunities. Last year, 29% or all mainstream enrolments at the college were from Youth Access Programme participants. It is the College’s view that being able to engage these participants early through the Youth Access Programme has contributed to generally improving trends in full-time programme retention and attainment over the last five years.
Individual case study
Connor joined the Youth Access Programme several years ago with a history of behavioural problems and issues including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia. Programme workers met with him and his mother to agree how to manage his behaviour. With some ups and downs, he was able to participate in a range of activities that developed his ICT skills and also led to a steady improvement in his confidence and self-esteem. Now aged 18, Connor has contributed over 120 hours as a volunteer with the programme, which has been accredited through the Saltire Award, and he has progressed to college to a do a media course.
To find out more about the Youth Access Programme, please contact: Stuart Lowe (firstname.lastname@example.org), Senior Youth Worker at Glasgow Kelvin College.