Employability Day 2019
Realize Your Potential (RYP) is an organisation based in Dumfries & Galloway, which delivers programs and activities aimed at inspiring, supporting and enabling Young People to realize their own unique potential.
RYP are presently funded through The Health & Social Care ALLIANCE – self management fund to deliver their QUEST program to Young Adult Carers across Scotland.
RYP work in partnership with Carers Trust Scotland to connect with Carers Centres and Young Carer services across the country. Young Adult Carers consistently say in consultations that they feel too old or mature to be classed as Young Carers but equally they don’t see themselves fitting onto the category of Adult Carers. This has been one of the main drivers of the project- providing much needed activities that this age group will easily connect to and identify with.
RYP – QUEST provides Young Adult Carers with an exciting opportunity to take some quality time out to look at;
• Where they feel they are presently at in their life
• What skills, talents and qualities they have
• What they would like to do and how to get there
• How to overcome challenges that can often get in the way.
Upon accessing the self-management course young people will start to move through a 30-hour programme that builds on helping them to see a brighter future for themselves and to inspire them with the action they must take to get there.
The project introduces the idea of Howard Gardeners multiple Intelligences which helps young people recognise that intelligence can take many forms. Individuals can finally see the potential within themselves and realise excelling academically isn’t the only way a person can be smart. Activities such as working with artists to create vision boards support this idea and allow the young people to capture aspirations and passions they would like to pursue in the future.
The program also introduces strategies and techniques such as visualisation, relaxation and positive affirmations to help them better self-manage within their caring roles. External agencies are also brought in to deliver additional pieces of training such as Money Matters or public speaking to further build confidence in key areas of their lives.
Having gone through the core programme, a basic leadership skills training course (Train to Sustain) is available to sign up to. During this course individuals can build on what the have learned through the programme and at the end of the training, assist the staff in delivering an activity to their peers.
The Young Adult Carers who have completed the course, many of whom have not previously engaged in any other activities, have reported feelings of increased confidence, self-esteem and belief in their own ability to achieve. Many of them have improved their social skills, made new friends and created strong peer support networks which they continue to engage with over and above the Quest program. Some individuals have since gone on to pursue higher education, others have taken up leadership roles within the group and some have gone on to achieve an SQA in Employability as a direct result from the program.
The positive attributes, values and skills that many of these amazing Young Adult Carers naturally have, have been further recognised, supported and enhanced through participating in QUEST. All, of these skills are transferable to many other areas in life and would be a welcomed contribution to any workplace and by any employer if they were given the chance to do so.
In order to close the employment gap for Young Adult Carers, RYP believe, there is a great need to raise more awareness of the issues and impact a caring role can have. Action needs to be taken by employers around flexibility in both how they recruit and best support Young Adult Carers both, into and within employment.
If employers, communities and society, as a whole, increased their awareness of these challenges and committed to improving their structures to ensure flexibility, to not only accommodating but supporting Young Adult Carers to succeed in their employability journey- this would go a long way in closing the gap.