We have been working with Young Researchers and Evaluators for over 10 years and have been privileged to witness authentic young people’s voice and influence in a range of schools, arts and community based organisations all over the country.
We are passionate about ensuring as many young people as possible get a chance to have their voice heard and so, as part of our charitable work, we are offering one lucky school, cluster or organisation one of our training programmes for free! This 3 day programme would normally cost at least £3600.
The UFA Young Researcher and Evaluator programme explores the language and mechanics of research such as how to collect and analyse data, and also addresses the ethics of research, how to create a code of conduct and maintain confidentiality. The Young Researchers and Evaluators also plan their projects, organise themselves and develop leadership and team working skills. Each team is supported by an adult who provides feedback, encouragement and challenge.
In our experience young people bring honesty with few preconceptions to the research and a natural curiosity to find out more. They develop creative and innovative ways to research the subject matter which they understand their peers will respond to.
This programme is also a magnet for the thinkers, the more reflective young people who are often overshadowed by extroverts. They grow in confidence throughout the programme and help deliver a far more balanced viewpoint than just the loudest voices.
But the biggest benefit they bring is a genuine young people’s voice throughout the project.
This ranges from how the questions are framed, to the peer responses. These are often far more authentic than if channelled through an adult researcher, as the young people are far less concerned about giving a perceived wrong answer, and also speak the same language as their researchers.
Children observe with different eyes, ask different questions – they ask questions that adults do not even think of, have different concerns and have immediate access to peer culture where adults are outsiders.
The final step in the process is equally important for young people’s motivation and enthusiasm. They present their findings and recommendations to senior leaders who are charged with keeping them informed about actions that happen as a result of their work – there is feedback to them on the research findings and they are acted on, if possible, and they understand why if not.
This commitment is key as young people’s voice is valuable and powerful, and needs to be listened to, even if it’s delivering a message that’s difficult to hear.
So if you are committed to developing and empowering young peoples’ voice and influence this could be the start you are looking for.
To enter this competition visit our competition page here and if you know anyone else who may be interested in applying please share this post. The closing date is 19th September 2016.
Terms and conditions can be found within the application form.
Links to other past blogs