Steps Club for Young People

The Youth Achievement Awards

The Youth Achievement Awards are a project based approach to education and are available through youth organisations, schools and educational projects. In order to achieve an Award, young people must begin a project which requires them to take on increasing levels of responsibility for their work, helping them to develop a sense of ownership over their activities and the learning involved. The Awards enable young people to build self-awareness, self-esteem, communication and negotiation skills and teach young people how to work with others in teams.

Steps Club for Young People

Steps is a youth centre based in Weymouth, Dorset which allows its young people to pursue Youth Achievement Awards. In five years they have had over forty young people complete the Silver Award and one young person complete the Gold Award. Along the way the young people have achieved and gained so much that their youth workers believe that the programme “is the most developmental, meaningful work they have ever undertaken”. Steps use the award as a vehicle for social education, personal development and to effect real change in their young people. They primarily focus on the Silver Award as this involves young people having some responsibility for organising challenges for themselves and taking responsibility for forming their own projects, timelines and aims.

Steps is an open access group which attracts a number of young people who are deemed to be ‘at risk’. The programme has been hugely beneficial for these groups, who have learned how to motivate themselves, take responsibility for their own work within a team setting and get on with others.

Impact

Steps believe that when their young people undertake the Youth Achievement Awards they go through “a unique experience and something of a journey and often significantly change as a result of it”. Steps advisors stated that the skills and abilities gained by their young people have included:

  • Highly developed key skills (communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving)
  • Greatly increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Higher aspirations (for their lives, careers and relationships)
  • An increased sense of social responsibility, citizenship and how they can contribute to positive changes in their communities and in society

The picture featured above is of Tom Lane, area youth worker at Steps, meeting the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street. Mr Lane went to Westminster after South Dorset MP, Jim Knight, nominated him as a 'Community Hero'. Mr Lane said of his work: “I meet former members who are aged in their 20s and 30s who tell me how much Steps meant to them and what a difference it made to their lives. It’s really heart-warming to hear that Steps helped to shape their formative years.”