The following case study demonstrates the impact of the Inspiration Programme on the lives of local young people:
Tia is 17 years old and studying for her A-Levels at Milton Keynes Academy – she aspires to be a nurse and currently works in dementia care on the weekend alongside her studies. She wanted to increase her employment prospects but was shy and lacked confidence therefore Milton Keynes Academy encouraged her to join the Inspiration Programme to build her interpersonal skills and confidence. Tia felt unsure about taking part in the programme at the start as she didn’t like working in groups and standing up in front of people.
“When I first met Tia she was very quiet and we had to work hard to bring her out of her shell. As she’s progressed through the programme I’ve seen her confidence grow and she has flourished. It has been great to see the positive effect the Inspiration Programme has had on Tia and I can see she has already matured as an individual”.Inspiration Programme facilitator, Geoff Cook
Although Tia already wanted to be a nurse, the programme broadened her horizons and taught her about the many options open to her in the world of work. The workshops and experiences Tia took part in throughout the programme, pushed her out of her comfort zone, helped her discover new talents and opened her eyes as to how society works. Tia enjoyed hearing from local business people about their careers; “Business isn’t really my thing but it was inspiring to hear how people could build up their businesses from nothing – it’s crazy.”
In the Arts & Culture pillar there was poetry writing session where Tia wrote a moving poem about Remembrance Day, Tia said: “I never really liked English and I’ve never really written a poem before, it surprised me how much I enjoyed it and how my poem affected other people.” She also visited a music venue as part of this section of the course whereby she wrote a poem that was chosen to be ‘free-styled’ by a Rap artist, Tia said: “I couldn’t believe my poem was picked I didn’t think it would be good enough” – this experience helped build Tia’s confidence in her own abilities and she really valued being listened to and treated like an adult in this session.
On visiting a Fire Station as part of the Health & Well-Being pillar Tia learned to respect the work carried out by the Fire Service – something she had previously taken for granted. Tia said: “It’s surprising what they do, I never realised what hard work it was and all the different jobs they do, I learnt a lot about working in teams there and how heavy their equipment is”.
The Police and Criminal Justice pillar of the course had a big impact on Tia, a trip to the Riot Training centre was particularly memorable: “It was shocking they have to go through those things in daily life, the horses walk through fire and they threw molotov cocktails which was scary. I was surprised by what the police do and how they do their best to keep everyone safe”. As part of this section of the programme Tia and her group heard from a criminal investigator who described a real life murder case he had worked on and how he had solved it. Tia was moved by his story: “It made me think about how anything could happen, it happened just down the road from me which is scary.”
Following this experience, Tia had to stand up in front of the group and debate the case with another peer who argued against her. This was something Tia would have shied away from previously, but she was able to stand up and confidently argue an opinion that wasn’t her own. She even managed to winning people over to her to her side of the argument. This was a fantastic achievement for Tia and shows how far she has come in terms of developing her self-confidence and communication skills.
Tia’s school teachers have also noticed how the Inspiration Programme has impacted on her: “I have noticed changes in Tia’s confidence and this is partly due to the Inspiration Programme as it has motivated her to voice her opinions and ideas with more assurance.
“From my perspective, the Programme has really made Tia blossom and become more confident about who she is and the many options she has open to her in the future”. Sylvie Vigne, Milton Keynes Academy.
Tia has used her new-found confidence to volunteer as a student ambassador and has taken a leading role in organising other students and welcoming visitors to the Academy at a high-profile evening event with visitors from the Milton Keynes area.
Tia says: “On taking part in the Inspiration Programme, I feel I’ve gained lots of confidence skills, I’ve never really talked in front of a group before and I’m quite a shy person. Doing this has made me feel more confident working with new people and a lot braver. I still want to be a nurse when I leave school but I’ve realised there’s loads of options open to me in nursing and the Inspiration Programme has given me the communication skills and teamworking skills I’ll need for the job.
I’d recommend the Inspiration Programme to anyone, as it’s so much fun and you learn lots of new skills without really realising it.”