The Inspire Aspire Project
After we launched this project we organised two main events, a community information event where we invited Somali parents and children, by reaching out to the following schools Cathays, Willows and Fitzalan to allow the parents to learn about the academic choices available to their children, information regarding the education system and encouraging them to take an active role in their children’s education. We also held an Inspire-Aspire event in which we invited Somali professionals and graduates to share their experience and insight with school/college students and their parents. The idea of the event was to show parents and students the different career choices available to them, allowing them to make more informed decisions regarding their A-level and degree subjects, as well as directing them to our careers page online, in total approximately 80 people attended this event. We trained professionals as mentors, We also provided young girls and boy with mentoring sessions, that included one-to-one sessions that dealt with the child’s needs whether school related or personal. They also had group mentoring sessions that helped them to communicate effectively and build social skills. They also provided with an opportunity to take part in educational trips that enhanced their knowledge of culture and connect with their Somali identity better and develop a stronger of self. Finally, we provided a virtual space for Somali mothers o share their experience and insight about topics related to their children’s education and life in general, to allow them to better relate to their children.
About the Participants
The majority of these children came from families where both parents are uneducated and do not speak the English language, they are the first person that will attend University/Higher education in their families. Most of the children came from families in poverty, some of them were on benefit and others have very low paid jobs, such as taxi drivers and cleaners. Some families are also refugees/immigrants so have a limited knowledge of British educational systems and culture in general. As a result of their parents no being fully integrated into the society the young people are also at risk of getting involved in antisocial/criminal behaviour, and substance misuse. They also have a lack of representative role models from the same cultural background limit their goals and aspirations, in addition to this they have a lack of professional network that limits their opportunities to gain work experiences particularly for more competitive career paths. Furthermore some of the children have problems related to poor housing, living in deprived areas of the city, being brought up by single mothers, low self esteem and the risk of getting involved in gang activities.
At the beginning of the programme, they struggled to confidently interact with each other and expressing themselves. They were also very unsure about not only their career choices but also what even was achievable with the qualifications they already had. We managed to arrange information programs for the youth to interact and connect with their parents. We also ran an event brought the young Somali professionals from different fields to advise the youngsters about career options and choices. The young professionals also explained how the education system works to the parents, because the majority of the parents haven’t been in higher education do not understand the requirements and qualifications needed for higher education applications. The event was meant to inspire the youngsters to become who they aspire to be and reach their full potential, to build up their confidence and self-esteem to make them realize they are capable of becoming someone important in their community.
Mentors sessions were designed to help the youngsters to be aware of their potential, to aspire them to be more ambitious and to be able to make better directions about their future fully knowledgeable about all the opportunities that are available to them.By the end of the session, they gained the information that will help them become independent and confident in choosing their career path. The sessions also provided them with mentors that assisted them in filling their UCAS application and their personal statement, in which the mentors made clear to the young people that they needed to speak to personal yours if they felt they were given unfairly low A-level predictions which were hindering their degree choices. After group sessions, they were confident enough to ask for more guidance regarding their choice of university course. We also managed to arrange information programs for the youth to interact and connect with their parents. We also ran an event brought the young Somali professionals from different fields to advise the youngsters about career options and choices.