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Choices Programme

Choices Programme

Delivered as part of Community Transformation Programme

a Training Programme

  1. Introduction

Community Transformation:

Youth at Risk’s Community Transformation programme is being delivered across nine local authorities in the UK. It brings together all the individual programmes in which Youth at Risk have a track record of success (Coaching for Success in schools; Choices Programme working with NEET and at risk of NEET, Coaching for Professionals and Coaching for Communities) together with some families work and creating a model that works across a specific geographic area.

Over 2 years in each area the Community Transformation Programme will work with:

  • 100 14 – 16 year olds to keep them engaged with education; raise their achievement and aspiration; decrease anti-social behaviour and improve the self esteem and self-worth

  • 80 young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) or who are on re-engagement programmes with a high risk of dropping out to break the cycles of disengagement; raise aspiration and participation; increase attainment; decrease anti-social behaviour and potential involvement with criminal activity and improve self-esteem and self worth

  • 25 young people at the extreme end of alienation or disaffection, including those who are currently ‘off the radar’ to re-engage them with their community; increase participation in education, employment or training; decrease antisocial behaviour and involvement in crime; improve aspirations and increase self esteem and self worth

  • Over 200 adults (practitioners; residents; volunteers and parents) to give them the tools and understanding to support young people in their communities in a positive manner, reach and engage with them and generate creative relationships that enable transformation with young people who do not connect with current services

The Choices Programme:

Choices is the Youth at Risk UK training programme designed specifically for young people who are currently NEET or at risk of NEET as part of the Community Transformation Programme. The training programme lasts for 6 months for each cohort of participants and is intended to increase their ability to maximise the employment and educational opportunities available to them as well as increasing their effectiveness and success in life. This document outlines the programme and identifies the main training outcomes for those involved.

Chris Sollis

Motivate the Estate | Children and Learning | Southend on Sea Borough Council | 5th floor Civic Centre | Victoria Avenue | Southend on Sea | SS2 6ER

Phone: 01702 534891| Email: chrissollis@southend.gov.uk

2. Programme Briefing

  • The objectives:

  • To provide the opportunity for participants to increase their personal effectiveness.

  • Address participants’ barriers to engaging in education, employment and training

  • Create understanding of how to break the cycle of exclusion/quitting

  • Empower participants to engage more readily with work/ employment/ education and life

  • Enable clear life-long learning goals to be set and achieved

  • To provide training and support for staff involved with the programme to enhance and add to their current skill base in supporting the young people through the programme and beyond.

  • The participants

  • The Referring Agencies: The Choices programme works within The Local Authority’s Community Transformation Programme to identify key agencies that can refer and support young people in participating in this opportunity.

  • The Youth Participants: Working with participants to increase their personal effectiveness and enabling them to create unprecedented results in their life.

  • The Staff: Providing staff and other professionals involved with an experience of a different way of working and an opportunity to examine what limits potential and ways to move beyond these barriers.

  • Volunteers: Training for local volunteers to become life coaches and support participants in moving forwards towards their goals throughout the programme.

3. Preparation and Development

In order to ensure effective delivery there are two components that are completed before delivery with youth participants commences.

    1. Agency enrolment and set-up meeting

The Project Manager for The Community Transformation Programme will meet with the agency and introduce them to the programme, its purpose, structure and outcomes and establish referral criteria for young people. At this stage should the agency wish to participate and refer young people they will organise for a number of their staff to attend an adult training workshop.

    1. Staff Training

The staff training usually takes place over 3 days and provides a unique opportunity for professional development and growth for the staff, at the same time preparing them for undertaking this work with a selection of their young people.

The training would offer staff the opportunity to:

  • Explore how they generate relationship with young people and each other and gain insights into how they can impact relationships that are currently not working

  • Investigate the limits of existing working practice, and therefore creating a new level of freedom to choose solutions that work for the agency, staff and young people

  • Gain insights, ideas and the motivation to address the challenges encountered in the work-place and issues once considered intractable

  • Create a new level of team and partnership both with the staff from their own agency, other participating agencies and with the delivery team.

The training is designed to build the capacity of staff and enable them to support young people in making full use of the programme. This will also leave a skill base in the referring agency and with the individual staff members beyond the duration of the programme.

If it is not possible for your staff to attend a three day professionals course please speak to the project manager about alternative routes to prepare staff for their role in this programme.

4. Overview of a Programme

Each cohort on the Choices Programme will be up to 40 participants and will last for approximately six months. Please see Choices Referral Criteria document for details on appropriate young people for the programme.

The table below shows a standard timeline for delivery.


Youth Participants


4 weeks prior to Youth Intensive

Staff attend 3 day Professionals’ Workshop

2 weeks prior to Youth Intensive

Young people attend half-day enrolment session

Staff bring young people to enrolment and support their participation

1 week prior to Youth Intensive

Staff follow up with young people to ensure they have everything in place to attend 4-day intensive

Week 0

Intensive 4 day training for young people, matched with Life Coach on final afternoon

Staff attend where possible to support young people

Week 1-24

Weekly/fortnightly life-coaching sessions

Week 4-24

Monthly follow-up training sessions for young people and coaches

Staff attend where possible

Week 24

Completion/Celebration event

All attend

Training for Young People

Young People will initially attend an enrolment session supported by staff from the referring agency. This session will focus on presenting the opportunity of the programme to them such that they can see what is at stake for them in participating. They will be invited to make a choice to become a participant on the programme and those that choose to will then complete an application form. The enrolment session lets young people know that they will be enrolling on to an intensive personal development programme about themselves and establishes their commitment to engage in that way.

Those young people that complete application forms will then receive a follow-up call from a staff member or life coach to ensure they have all the support they need and are organised and ready for the 4-day training.

4-day Intensive Training Outcomes

  • Commitment

  • Clarity about long term goals

  • Increased ability to keep their word, even in difficult circumstances

  • More awareness of the value of giving and keeping their word

  • Ability to plan effectively to increase the likelihood of fulfilling commitments

  • Increased ability to work within the rules of a given environment

  • Ability to be responsible

  • Expanded ability to respond rather than reacting

  • Seeing more choices than before and being empowered to make a choice that fits their long term goals

  • Learning a new way to deal with mistakes, and being able to use this effectively

  • Reviewing learning and identifying what is and isn’t working, being able to create effective plans to impact what’s not working.

  • Self Awareness and What’s Possible

  • Increased awareness of their own thoughts and feelings and how they affect the outcome of situations

  • Awareness of the behaviours that have hindered their development in life and finding new ways tof being that are effective

  • Greater appreciation for those key workers they engage with as resources

  • Ability to identify, communicate and own their strengths and challenges and have identified ways to deal with the challenges

  • Relationship

  • Ability to create effective relationships

  • Improved communication skills

  • More available to accepting support and willing to offer it to others

At the end of the intensive training young people will be allocated a Life Coach, a local volunteer who will work with them to accomplish their goals and sustain their commitment to the programme and new routes into education/employment/work. Life Coaches meet fortnightly for coaching sessions with their pupil(s) for the remainder of the programme.

The Life Coaches will have undertaken an intensive Coach Training with Youth at Risk in a similar form to the agency’s staff training. They will also have been CRB cleared by the Local Authority and are offered further support and training as part of the Community Transformation Programme during the course of their coaching.

Ongoing support

The agency staff who participated with the project will support the coaches and pupils throughout the follow through process. There will also be follow-up training sessions bringing young people, staff and coaches together every month to review their progress; undertake additional training and handle breakdowns and accomplishments.

At the end of the programme a completion event is held as an opportunity for recognition of accomplishment and celebration. It is also an opportunity for the participants, coaches and facilitation team to complete with each other.

Depending on the timing, some young people who may be invited to participate in the next cohort of the project can be invited to this event

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