Inspiring the next generation of young leaders
In February 2021, we got the go ahead to run the first ever ‘Impact Through Stories’ Leadership Programme with fifty children in Flintshire. The Programme is a small pilot funded by Welsh Government Transformation Programme and delivered in partnership by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Flintshire County Council and DO WELL LTD. We were all extremely excited by this news, as this would be the first time this type of stories based leadership programme would be run for young people in Wales.
The programme is designed to support young people develop the confidence to be able to consider their role in the world and what they would want to achieve beyond the parameters of traditional education.
We did have some challenges ahead, the schools were extremely busy getting all of their students back in after lockdown. We weren’t initially sure if they would have the time to engage with us.
However, the amazing staff at Ysgol Argoed, Hawarden High School, Mold Alun School and Ysgol Maes Hyfryd worked with us around any barriers, bringing this programme to life.
We are still delivering the pilot phase of the programme, which will be coming to an end in June 2021. At this stage we will provide a full evaluation report on our learning. I am however very pleased and proud to say that the early evidence and feedback for the pilot is overwhelmingly positive. Many young people are taking forward their passions and causes with our support, telling their stories to senior leaders in organisations and supporting the delivery of the programme with other schools and through teacher training sessions.
‘I thought the course was amazing! I feel so much more confident and I believe in myself a lot more. I enjoyed hearing about others struggles and what they want to change in the world.
So happy when I finally found my story!’
It assists them in building aspirations and resilience; to develop relationships and understanding within their peer groups; to consider their roles as active members of a community and supports them to find their voices and gaining the skills/confidence to be heard.
We were very much aware that it has been a difficult year for our young people and hoped that we would be able to offer them something new and innovative that would ignite their passions and empower them to feel confident to advocate for the things that matter most to them. In all honesty we weren’t sure how this would pan out. Would it connect with young people? It had never been done before. But having completed the programme myself as an adult, I felt strongly that it would be children and young people who would have the most to gain from learning these skills at the earliest opportunity and that by giving them the insight, the permission and the power to use their rights to be heard that they could make change happen and support transformation in North Wales.
On a personal level I have been inspired so much by the young people who have taken part in this programme, their stories will stay with me forever. I have also been reminded of the power that comes from listening to their voices, the truths they tell and in recognising their amazing ability to translate ideas into action. If I have learnt anything it is that our young people have the real ability to transform the things that need to change, we just need to give them the skills and power to do it.