We have anonymized some of our Talent Coaches’ names in this case study because of the sensitive nature of their work supporting families.
Looking at the wider aspects of young people’s lives and providing holistic support is something of a programme mantra for GM’s Hidden Talent. Of course, some young people present as relatively independent and work-ready when joining us. With some signposting to opportunities and refining of interview technique, they can be in work within weeks. But to best support other young people, Talent Coaches need to explore the wider context of a young person’s living situation.
“It’s a case of working out how deep you want to go to help a young person,” said one Talent Coach.
“By helping to improve the lot in life of the wider household, you create obvious benefits for the young person. For example, if a parent or sibling is not working, it forms an unhelpful backdrop to be working against. The young person can adopt a mindset of ‘if they are not working, why should I?’.”
This Talent Coach recently helped a young person’s parent to find work by helping them rewrite their CV. They then prepared them for and accompanied them to a successful job interview. This particular parent had asked for help but in other circumstances, the Talent Coach has made the first move.
The Talent Coach said: “If I see a young person out and about with a sibling or I see a sibling on a home visit, I’ll innocently say something like, “How old are you then love?” or “What are you up to at the minute dear?” It’s a way into finding out if they need signposting to any support.”
Another Talent Coach’s first meeting with a young person was in a multi-agency meeting in which the parents were also present. The Talent Coach recognised how supportive the family were and was determined to involve them in their work. Building a rapport was a big part of getting the family onside.
“My early engagement sessions were done in the family home,” said the Talent Coach.
“The family are Liverpool fans and I’d turn up in my United jacket and have some banter with Dad. I’d talk about football with the family as I played a bit of FIFA with the young person.”
The trust built early on meant the parents bought into support action plans and could reinforce goal setting. When this young person was hospitalised for a time the family relayed messages between the Talent Coach and the young person.
Another Talent Coach told us that a young person has not wanted to talk over the phone during lockdown, and so she talks to that young person’s mother to plan and arrange support.
Through these calls she came to know the mother quite well. As she opened up, she revealed that there was domestic violence in the home. The Talent Coach referred them to an early help domestic violence helpline and the situation has improved.
This same Talent Coach has also guided parents in completing Personal Independence Payment (PIP) application forms on behalf of young people, and has confronted parents who are preventing young people from claiming benefits they are entitled to (some parents on GM’s Hidden Talent have tried to stop young people opening their own claim for Universal Credit. They worry they will find work, thereby becoming non-dependents; meaning that less housing benefit can be claimed).
Our Talent Coaches at G-Force and Bolton Lads and Girls Club have been delivering food parcels and hampers to young people and their families during the lockdown. A partnership between Manchester Young Lives (MYL) and Visit from the Stork CIC has enabled, Martina, our Talent Coach at MYL to deliver new parent support packs (containing essentials like formula, baby creams etc.) to young people.
Martina said: “The young people’s faces have lit up when they’ve received the packs. It’s really touching. On the surface it looks a long way from employability but it lets them know I’m there for them and builds the trust that can help when job searching is appropriate.”