- This Trojan question was targeted at young people from 13 years of age to 18 years of age.
- The question was all about young people’s views on the life journey ahead of them, focusing on how they view the next 5 years.
- We were particularly interested in young people’s views because we understand the importance for young people of the transition into adulthood, and that it matters that they are engaged in employment, education or training as they move into adulthood.
- To encourage discussion and record young people’s views participating projects were sent a ‘prop’ and some guidance for workers about how to approach the question.
- About who took part in this Trojan question
- What young people told us
- The Life Journey poster
- Key messages
- More about how this Trojan question worked
Twenty six young people took part in this question, with a fairly even spilt in terms of gender. They were aged between 12 and 16, with an average age of 14 years and 4 months.
The young people who participated were engaged with the following voluntary sector agencies:
- Aberlour Crannog East (place)
- Aberlour Crannog West, Stranraer
- Barnardos Levenmouth Links project, Fife
- Bellshill Academy (Princes Trust XL project)
- Foster Care Associates (Scotland)
- Goals for Us, Highland Football Academy, Dingwall
- Shelter Families Project, Glasgow
Many Trojan participants have had experiences of exclusion or alternatives to mainstream education or experiences of being looked after or accommodated away from home, all of which impact on their life journey. We asked young people about their experiences and were told that:
- 17 young people (74%) had at some point in their school life been excluded from school.
- 10 young people (43%) had attended an alternative to mainstream school unit.
- 10 young people (43%) had been on supervision while living at home.
- 6 young people (26%) had lived in foster care.
- 3 young people (13%) had lived in a residential unit.
What young people told us is presented in the poster which you can download from the site. The poster works best in hard copy (at its best it is 2 x A2 posters landscape) and copies are available from the Trojan team.
Information from the young people is organised as follows:
Young people talked about what holds them back, weighs them down, and is a negative influence on their life journey. This is represented visually by the weights and baggage they carry on their journey and can be seen on the first part of the path.
Young people talked about what and who helps on their journey; what is in their toolkit. This is represented visually in the backpacks they wear and is represented in the second half of the journey.
Young people talked about their hopes, dreams and ambitions; their goals in their life journey that they would like to emerge as their reality in the next 5 years and beyond. This is represented visually in the signposts that are found along the journey.
Young people talked about what adults (family members and helping professionals) could do to help them on their journey. This is represented visually in the second half of the path, along which adults who can help hold lights, and in their beams are the things the participating young people said the helping adult can do.
Across the posters there are illustrative comments which come directly from the posters young people submitted.
We have produced a poster which presents what young people told us. If you would like a copy of the poster please contact us and we will send you one!
You can download a pdf example of the poster here.
Example illustrations from the poster can be found on opposite.
The individual posters which have been submitted by young people can be found on their project pages which can be found by following the Groups Taking Part link from the menu.
What do the posters tell us? We would highlight the following key messages:
- Young people with experiences of school exclusion or being looked after have the same hopes, dreams and ambitions as other young people their age.
- Families matter to young people, when things are good they are a key source of support. But families can also be a worry; and things can happen that make the life journey difficult.
- School matters; although for many young people school is difficult to manage and many are excluded.
- Young people need self belief and need to be resilient on their life journey.
- Young people need skills and qualifications.
- Hopes, dreams and ambitions can be undermined by other people, by drugs and by alcohol.
- People can let you down. They can leave.
- The death of someone close has a profound impact.
- Being sad, angry or lonely is hard to cope with.
- On the life journey there can be worries about money and living independently.
- Some professional people understand and work with the young person to alleviate difficulties; however some professionals aren’t as helpful as they should be.
- Adults can help – both professionals and other adults - by doing certain things and having particular characteristics or skills. Young people want adults to say:
We understand what its like.
We are listening – and we don’t interrupt you.
We will leave you alone – and comfort you when you need it.
We are honest with you.
We help make sure you are safe
We can provide schooling at home when you need it.
We help to sort out things that are confusing.
We will help with practical things like trying out work experience.
We help you build your confidence.
We have time for you.
We give you encouragement – but we don’t push
We never shout.
Our door is open.
We have faith in you.
This question was for young people from 12 years of age to 18 years of age.
The question was all about young people's views on the life journey ahead of them, focusing on how they view the next 5 years.
A poster was provided (see below) on which young people could record their views. This could be done individually, or even in pairs, on the A2 size posters provided, or alternatively if young people wanted to work in a small group we also provided some A1 size props/posters.
We recognised in the information provided that workers know their young people well and would know how much individual or group support they needed to get the best from the task.
This is the poster which acted as the prop and provided the space to record young people’s views:
Facilitators were also given some prompt questions which could help in discussion with young people. We suggested they think about the poster and discussion with these in mind. Guidance was as follows:
“We want young people to identify and record all the things that they have in their toolkit - in other words what helps on their journey. If you are helping young people to think this through you might ask them to think about:
- Who and what helps them - and how?
- Who and what can they rely on - and in what ways?
- What knowledge, skills and abilities do they have that will help on the way?
We want young people to identify and record all the things that can weigh them down, that can stop them in their tracks, and prevent them from moving on into young adulthood. If you are helping young people to think this through you might ask them to think about:
- What acts as a negative influence - and how?
- What undermines them on their journey - and why?
- What makes them feel they have little or no control?
- What needs to be sorted so they can move on?
- What does the young person need that they're not getting?
We want young people to identify the hurdles or barriers that they will have to cross on their journey - in other words:
- What can't be predicted?
- What might come up that will get in the way?
Finally we want young people to tell us:
- What picture do you have of your life as a young adult? ”