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Meeting the Cardiff Ambassadors

I’ve been working over the last few months with a fantastic and inspiring group of 14-18 year olds based at the Paddington Arts Centre in Westminster, who have been taking part in our project: “In My Backyard – Inspiring Change in Local Communities“. This innovative, grassroots programme supports young people living in areas affected by deprivation to campaign for positive changes in their local communities.

This group has identified youth unemployment as the big issue for them and their peers. They feel there is a general lack of suitable jobs locally for teenagers, but also that local employers are reluctant to employ teenagers because of stereotypes about teenagers’ skills, motivation, commitment and, in some instances, fears about local teenagers being involved in gangs. These young people have therefore set up their group “Youth With an Agenda” to challenge these stereotypes and to engage local employers in dialogue with local young people.

In October, the group travelled to Cardiff, to meet a different group of a similar age. They exchanged ideas about the issues facing young people in each place, and interviewed each other. This is their blog about what they did:

“We went to Cardiff over the weekend to meet the Cardiff Inspiring Change Group/Ambassadors. We interviewed the Cardiff team and asked them what they thought of employment in their area.

What we gathered from interviewing the Cardiff team is that they thought youth employment wasn’t an issue because no one wants a job. But in fact we think this is  a problem because they will need a job to support themselves when they’re older and have finished their education.

As well as the issue of unemployment the Cardiff team talked about another problem they face, which is poverty in school. We used role play exercises to explore these issues and from this they talked about students needing free school meals because their family cannot afford a packed lunch. They also talked about the issue of getting school uniforms as they are very expensive to purchase.

Apart from the hard work we put in during the day everyone socialised very well with each other and got to play a game which made us bond as a team called ‘The Cardiff Laugh.’  In the evening we all went out to Prezzo’s to eat pizza and to the cinema to watch The Social Network and RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous).

Overall we had a positive experience in Cardiff and got to know the team and it has given us ideas to use for our project.”

On 1 December, the group will be hosting an exciting event at Paddington Arts to get young people and local employers together. Watch this space for further details…

Find out more

Read about Inspiring change.

If you’re a local business person and you want to come to the event or offer some work experience to local young people then please contact Rachel Laurence on 0207 012 6457 or r.laurence@savethechildren.org.uk

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