“We met today. Looks like we’ve known each other for years, it feels like that…that’s how easy Talent Match is. It brings friendship, it’s great.”
Last summer, young people on the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme attended a celebration event with their Talent Coaches at the Midland Hotel in the city centre.
An evaluation has now been published on the GM Talent Match Reports page . This article provides a quick overview of the key evaluation findings.
The aims of last July’s Mixer event were to:
- Provide young people the opportunity to network and meet other beneficiaries
- Celebrate the successes of young people
- Inspire young people
An uplifting afternoon of speeches, presentations and group activities was attended by 72 beneficiaries, 30 talent coaches, dignitaries and the full Talent Match Project Team.
Besides more traditional evaluation methods, young people engaged in more creative ways of capturing feedback, designed to encourage participation. They Filmed Big Brother-style ‘diary room’ responses about their experiences on GM Talent Match, and a large-scale bunting making activity encouraged reflection on their proudest achievements sinec joining the programme. These achievements were recorded on individual bunting pieces and then displayed for all attendees to read.
Looking at the event aims, 98% of young people who completed feedback cards felt they had the opportunity to meet new people, and believed that this was enjoyable and useful. Young people elaborated on this in the diary room:
“I suppose for me [the thing I have enjoyed most] it’s meeting new people, getting out of the house”
A recurring theme in the diary room was the reassurance taken from meeting other young people from similarly challenging circumstances:
“[the thing I have enjoyed most] would probably be seeing how many people are in the same situation as I am…because I’m not very good with people or crowds so it’s an achievement in itself for me just turning up”
Young people gave interviews in the diary room together, having only met that day: “We met today. Looks like we’ve known each other for years, it feels like that…that’s how easy Talent Match is. It brings friendship, it’s great.”
In terms of celebrating successes and inspiring young people, 62 young people (82%) participated in the bunting activity. Recurring bunting themes included; educational achievements; finding either a job or an apprenticeship; overcoming mental health barriers; developing resilience; sporting, artistic or creative achievements and developing self-confidence. Feedback was very wide-ranging, reflecting a mixture of hard and soft outcomes. Listening to young person speakers and the guest motivational speaker were the two favourite parts of the afternoon, as indicated in both young person and coach feedback.
Asked what they would be taking away from the event, 83% of all young person responses related to listening to people’s stories and the inspiration they had taken from these.
Programme Manager, Katherine Bird, said: "A huge amount of effort and planning went into producing the Mixer Event, so it’s really satisfying to get such positive feedback from the young people and coaches who attended”.