Recently at Real Ideas, we have had some very exciting things happening on our programmes with local young people. Our Youth Hub programme, which is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions started in September. It has been doing extremely well and the hard work has not gone unnoticed!

Cornwall Youth Hub is an initiative that Real Ideas is leading on. We are delivering a rolling programme of six-week intensives for young people aged 18-25 years. There are three themed courses: Emerging Creatives, Digital Natives and Food and Hospitality.

The programme is aimed at individuals who have an interest in these areas and each strand is tailored to support young people to develop the necessary skills to pursue this. All courses are focussed on an enterprise challenge where they pitch an idea to industry professionals at the end of the six weeks. There is a strong focus on skills development and through the enterprise challenge, young people work as a team to understand all aspects of how a business can operate.

They get the opportunity to gain digital badges and specifically, a ‘kickstart ready’ meta-badge which employers of kickstart placements will be able to view on their CV’s.

Last week the Minister for Employment, Mims Davies, paid us a virtual visit to hear more about the fantastic work that has been happening on the Cornwall Youth Hub work that we deliver, and to hear directly from some of the young people that have been involved.

After hearing from our CEO, Lindsey Hall, and our Head of Employability and Pathways, Kate Reed, about Real Ideas, the work we do and the Cornwall Youth Hub, in particular, there were presentations from three groups of young people we have been supporting – Birdy Box, Hardh and the Food and Hospitality Group – and the enterprise ideas they have been developing, along with Freya a young person on our Game Changer programme.

The Birdy Box and Hardh groups were very excited to present their new App ideas, both of which have an emphasis on mental health awareness but in different ways. Birdy Box has a focus on ecotherapy, using our natural environments around us to promote mindfulness and helping us to reconnect with nature. Whereas Hardh looks at mental health in a different way, using an online role-playing game to help other young people identify issues and to signpost them to appropriate support networks.

Zac and Will from the Food and Hospitality group spoke incredibly well about the support they have received throughout the 6-week course. They explained about the help they have received with employability skills and their experience of the enterprise challenge where they were looking at food trucks.

Freya shared her experience of Game Changer – another programme for young people led by Real Ideas, and the impact it has had on her confidence. There was also a lot of praise for our wonderful Real Ideas navigators and staff, about how they support and guide everyone they work with.

It was great to hear directly from the people we support, sharing their views and what they have gained from working with Real Ideas, and how the DWP funded Youth Hub has given them a sense of purpose during a nationwide lockdown. It gave them a reason to collaborate, to work with different people and to learn new skills without ever leaving their front door.

This led to some very interesting conversations around how this new virtual way of working has impacted who and when young people are able to work with us. The minister seemed very impressed with how inclusive our programmes are, stating how she truly believes that ‘your postcode should never stop your progressions.’

The work we have been doing clearly made a fantastic impact on the Minister who spoke about her virtual visit with us and the experiences of the young people she met when she was a guest on BBC Radio Cornwall. Jump to 1hr 30m to hear what she had to say.

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