Lackwan is studying sociology, history and English literature at A’ Level.
Initially I wasn’t on the Inspiration Programme. I was told about it by other students and teachers and that it would give me a different perspective to my studies and help with personal statements for university.
I arranged it so that I could fit my studies around the programme and got a place on it.
I found that at times exams and academic work became stressful, but the Inspiration Programme gave me a different experience and that everything was not solely around qualifications.
It really wasn’t what I was expecting, the classroom work really enhanced the experience on the trips and made it real for me.
I found the Police and Criminal Justice pillar interesting and hadn’t realised that there were so many different careers and of course so many different viewpoints.
I have always considered myself to be quite conservative and fixed in my outlook but hearing first-hand the viewpoints of lots of other people gave me the awareness that we often make judgments about the police, courts, prisoners that are not based on fact. It is an extremely complicated system that relies on people working closely together. For me, it broke down barriers with the police and the detectives and showed me that they had a very human side.
Throughout the programme we were put into groups and had a lot of debates and by doing this it helped me get over my initial shyness when working with people I didn’t know. I was able to ask questions of people that came in to speak to us and hear first-hand what it was like in their workplaces.
Although I was able to get my viewpoint over, the most important thing I learnt about myself was not to be so narrow minded in my views and that there is always a different side to every story.
I know now I have the right to be heard and respected for my opinions. It also gave me the opportunity to increase my confidence and be more assertive but sensitive to others and to listen to what they had to say and sometimes that made me change the way I was thinking.
I particularly found that during the restorative justice session that there were many strong opinions and that the process for both victims of crime and criminals was a difficult one and that emotions run very high. I learnt that professionals in this area needed to ensure that people and communities are supported, and they needed to be empathetic and that as a team they rely on each other and had to see things through even when it got difficult. I am thinking of going into Law and teamwork and joint working is one of the things I will take from this experience.
The programme gave me the opportunity to experience things that I never thought I would. I never thought I would go to a farm that was also a charity working with young people, to be with the animals and to see how passionate people are about their work. It’s not just about money!
Now I know I have a creative side, I can be original and express myself.
Whether I go into Law or Politics I know that the experiences I have had and the skills I have learnt mean that I can think on my feet and know when to speak and when to listen.
Experiences like these is something that the curriculum at school doesn’t do and I really thing it has influenced the way I think at a much earlier age.
I can use what I have learnt and seen on The Inspiration Programme, use it in my personal statement for university and talk about them with confidence. It’s not just taken out of a book; I have experienced them and it makes it real.
I can speak about what is happening locally and all the things that happen in and around Milton Keynes. I wouldn’t have known this before, and I think it will give me an edge. Qualifications and life experience.
For more information on Action4Youth’s Inspiration Programme click here.