A new programme was unveiled last week (15 March) to help encourage children in care in Bristol to reach their full potential as part of the Bristol Career Coach scheme.
The programme pares school children in year nine (ages 13-14), who are primarily from a care or vulnerable background, with inspirational local professionals based on their interests and preferred ways of learning.
Once selected the professionals are then given training to allow them to become coaches and offer a good level of support for the children over the full length of the program which lasts for five years. The aim of the programme is to support these children throughout the latter stages of their education and to encourage them to find the career that’s right for them afterwards.
16 adults have currently signed up to the program and come from a wide range of backgrounds from teachers through to working at the BBC.
On Thursday (15 March), the children involved in the program first met with these coaches to begin the process of being matched up having already filled out analytical questionnaires which focused on their preferred type of learning, location and interests to decide which coach would be most appropriate.
Tim Holmes, Career Coordinator at Cabot Learning Federation, is a trained coach and has been placed in charge of the project.
He said: “As a trained coach, I have had the privilege to witness children grow and develop through programmes like this. With a bit of extra support there is proof that we can achieve real results with children giving them an opportunity to develop new skills and confidence to achieve their full potential. As a coach I find the process of supporting these children and young adults to reach their full potential incredibly rewarding and would recommend it to anyone. We know that there are certain groups of children who consistently under achieve and I hope that this programme will help to offer an extra push for them to achieve their full potential.”
This piece of work has been developed with the help of Cllr Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, and Cllr Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, as part of the council’s work on the Bristol WORKS project.
Cllr Helen Godwin said: “We have an extra responsibility of care for the 260 looked after children from Bristol at secondary school age. Unfortunately through no fault of their own there can be extra challenges faced by some of them when it comes to their final assessments and finding a career. We want to address this problem head on and make sure we can offer extra support to help make sure that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential and feels inspired to enter the world of work. I am hopeful that by working together with our Learning City partners across Bristol this project will help to offer support to some of the most vulnerable children in our city to succeed.”
The opportunity to become a coach is open to professionals across the city. Information on who can qualify and how people can get involved can be received by contacting the Bristol WORKS team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.