Delivery Partner Interview: Reform Radio

Greater Manchester’s Hidden Talent is led by GMCVO, but it is our Delivery Partners that work directly with our young people, through full-time or part-time Talent Coaches. The benefit of this model is that each organisation works in a different way – a necessary given the regional diversity of Greater Manchester.

To highlight the range of approaches of our Delivery Partners, we have asked them a series of questions to put the spotlight on the excellent work they do on a local level.

Find out more about all of our Delivery Partners here but today, we talk to...


Reform Radio

GM's HiddenTalent Manager: Rachel Roger

Talent Coach: Onye OneDa Ezeh

Area you are the partner for: Tameside

Date Founded: 2013

Tag Line: Broadcasting the Best in Music, Arts and Culture from Manchester to the World.

Vision: For all young adults within Greater Manchester to have the opportunity to realise their full potential. 

Who are you as an organisation and what is it you do?

Reform Radio is ushering in a new era of international broadcasting from this culturally rich region. Beyond making incredible content, Reform Radio uses the framework of an online station to support young adults into employment. We’re a not-for-profit company that delivers employment and creative workshops and traineeships alongside genuine opportunities to develop and practice new skills within our industry standard radio station. Our radio community supports the wider community; and so it goes around.

Describe the young people on GM’s Hidden talent in three words: Full of potential

Describe the Talent Coach in three words: Fun, persistent, caring

Why should we visit your offices (when it's safe to do so!) ?: Great bunch of people with a cool fully-functioning studio and great opportunities for young people. It’s accessible, flexible, and made for young people.

Local delicacy we should try when we’re there?: Erm fish and chips maybe, there’s a great chip shop nearby.

Why did you want to be part of GM’s Hidden Talent?

Reform Radio has previously had three Talent Coaches as part of GM Talent Match - and so understands the core of the programme, the young people, and the values of the team needed to support these young people to progress. GM's Hidden Talent is such an important programme as it supports the genuine pathways of young people - rather than trying to do a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This is very much in line with Reform’s values and we are really proud and thankful to be part of the programme. 

How do you recruit young people?

Young people are recruited using various methods by working with and contacting various organisations, i.e Positive steps, Ashton outreach team, Action together, Police, care leavers, probation, etc.

Word of mouth through young people we already engage in Tameside, and we have also been out on the streets of Ashton to try and drum up extra referrals - at various times of day and night, dropping flyers at cafes/ community centres/ pubs/ McDonalds/ libraries etc. We have also been on outreach runs late at night with outreach teams in the area. 

Is there a typical life situation your young people find themselves in?  

Most of the young people have presented with a mental health issue whether this be anxiety or depression or just an increased lack of confidence in themselves or their abilities.  It is my job as a Talent Coach to not only find these young people employment, but refer them to mental health services and take time to help them find ways of dealing with their wellbeing, and find positive ways to express and occupy themselves. Other young people recently been in prison and have linked in with us either through social workers or probation. Many have not worked before, and so finding their first step into employment has always seemed like a huge challenge. 

Why in your experience do hidden young people not claim benefits?  

Since working on the GM's Hidden Talent programme I have found that generally, young people have been generating their own income; more often than not illegally, although they have struggled with life this way they have managed to keep their heads above water.  A few have said they have not had the need to claim since they are still living at home. A few have said they don’t want to claim because they do not want to rely on ‘handouts’. 

Why do you think the Talent Coach model is the best model of support for young people?

I think the Talent Coach model puts young people as the focus of the support. Any pathways that they choose for their future are supported and they are able to access pastoral support in its fullest form. It doesn’t follow a formula to guide everyone’s journey. It allows for one-to-one  support and guidance, the time to develop relationships, and the funding to allow for small expenditure on travel/ interview clothes/ phones etc. It’s the most impactful support that is available for young people and I think many organisations could learn from this style of support. 

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