Georgina James from Melin Homes has blogged for us ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions About What Matters to Them’ event.
Here at Melin Homes we have a dedicated school program that is a core part of the business. FACE which stands for Future, Active, Career and Elevate, is designed to help the pupils in the schools of the areas we have develop their employability skills and widen their career aspirations whilst giving them experiences and opportunities that help them grow personally and professionally. It’s hit the ground running with over 1000 pupil engagements since April last year.
Why do Melin commit to working with schools I hear you ask, what benefit does it give us?
The pupils in those schools are the next generation right? They’re the next generation of our residents, our staff members, our board members, our contractors, our supportive councillors and our Welsh assembly workers. It makes complete sense for Melin to work with this generation from a young age. These young people will grow up knowing who Melin are and what we do, and whilst it helps with our business needs it directly impacts the lives of our younger residents and their communities.
By knowing Melin, they’re less likely to play up on the street corners, because they have a level of respect for the staff they’ve worked with. By doing workshops with Melin on money and finance, they are more likely to be better with money which ensures our rents are paid if they become one of our residents. By helping create positive mindsets we are showing them they can achieve whatever they want to, no matter what their background or life experience. By giving them interview and employability skills we are opening up opportunities for them to get into employment. By doing litter picks with local schools we are showing that everyone has responsibility to look after their environment around them – no matter what age or status. The list could go on and on and on.
It sounds good in theory right? Does it really work?
Yes without a doubt, investing in young people benefits Melin in the long run. I am one of many of the young people that Melin have helped and I now work for Melin. I volunteered with Melin from the age of 13 and continued to volunteer until I was 18. As a thank you Melin paid for my driving lessons and test and then gave me the opportunity to have a short term contract 5 years ago. Where am I now? 5 years down the line, I’m still working for Melin but I’m a permanent member of staff, rolling out the same help and support that I had, to hundreds of young people. I am living proof that when a company invests in young people, they reap the rewards. Melin isn’t just my workplace, it’s so much more, it’s an opportunity to give back the opportunities that Melin gave to me. I am so passionate about spreading the word about Melin, about helping young people, whether that is to understand their bills or improve their employability chances or boost their confidence. No matter where my future takes me I will forever be grateful to Melin for the head start in life they gave me.
One of our lovely volunteers that I have had the pleasure of working with, has volunteered with Melin from 13-18 too and now she’s preparing to do an apprenticeship with us here at Melin. It’s a ripple effect, when young people are made to feel worthy and like they’re given a voice and seen they will give you so much back. So what are you doing to ensure that the young people feel the same about you? Could you do more?
Melin have now committed to starting a youth empowerment project called YEP!, which is designed to give young people the opportunity to be part of Melin’s board and gain vital skills that will help them within their communities and professionally. It will also give them a chance to impact on the way Melin works, and how we need to adapt for the next generation coming through.