In No Limits, we often work with young people for a relatively short period of time and so it is vital that we prepare them for the next stage of their lives. To make this work, we use what could be called an ‘enabling approach’ where we support each person to access their own community but in a way that focuses on progression and achievement. But how do we do this when we’re providing very high staffing levels … how do we ensure this doesn’t actually become disabling and that young people don’t become reliant on a level of support that may not be available to them in their adult lives?
The answer should be simple; it is important that our Community Learning Facilitators working within No Limits learn to focus (always) on what outcomes the young people are working towards and how best to support each person to
achieve these. We also need to deploy staff intelligently and therefore think about how individual staff members support in a way that enables young people to achieve as much independence as possible. It is not about surrounding a young person with support ‘to keep them and the community at large safe’ but as a team learning when to lead and when to follow, when to intervene, when to suggest, when to praise.
For me this highlights the need for everyone at all levels to be able to recognise what success looks like and to have opportunities to reflect on how to ‘enable’ and equally to understand the opposite – how our interactions or our approach can easily disable and miss opportunities for progression.
Leading on from this, we need to ensure that all of our quality systems support this approach and so, as a team we’re taking time to focus on this area. I want all of us no matter what the job role or level of responsibility to be able to discuss opening and learn from each others practice. In our work observing others is frequent both in the course of a day and more formally as part of our self assessment and review processes. It is vital that we use these insights to create a workforce that is open to feedback and feel confident to give feedback to any of their colleagues no matter who they are or their place in the hierarchy.
Head of No Limits