Re-engaging disenfranchised and disengaged young people starts by creating environments of social learning that are fun to participate in; enjoyment leads to achievement.
From here, loyalty and a sense of belonging develops within the cohort of works, peers and other learners. This sees positive attitudes grow within the young people which allows pro-social modelling (generating role models) to take effect.
Once a relationship of trust and respect is secured, the hidden curriculum developed over many years of experience can be implemented by our workers:
- Promote realistic expectations: The Project aims to overwrite any illusory prospects young people may have cultivated, either themselves, through learning systems or on social media.
- Encourage engagement in work and effort for the value of achievement: Our approach encourages young people to see responsibility for their own actions and achieve something positive, as well as to appreciate others’ efforts, opinions and actions, engendering tolerance and respect. This is a novel feeling for many.
- Show how to build on failure: We break down difficult situations into attainable steps. We show young people how they can learn (they may assume they can do something without qualification, but refuse because of a fear of failing or relinquishing control). The exposure to perceived risk (emotional and physical) is an important way to construct resilience.
- Promote ‘anti-acquisitional’ attitudes: Experience and self-confidence can cost little financially and can reward in a way that materialism and desire to own cannot.
- Provide realistic acquisitional goals: Activities give rewards without guilt or the necessity to take advantage of others. This approach also promotes respect for others’ property.
- Challenge unacceptable and misguided attitudes: This is a gradual process: affinity with young person’s standpoint; concurrence; expression of faults in their argument; scorn; support and substituting of alternative views; and so on. This requires young people to have a considerable rapport with and trust and deference of the worker. A subtle, delicate and flexible attention is essential.
These processes, dovetailed with individual need-driven strategies, help young people towards becoming responsible and contributory members of the community. They recognise the personal benefits of adopting an acceptable attitude.
Current activities that work to achieve these goals include:
- Voluntary-attendance sessions
- Mentoring and nurturing programmes
- Educational re-integration courses
- Practical risk-exposure and fun sessions
This work of The Isle of Man Youth Motor Project has grown to encompass many areas of young people’s social and personal development. As such, a young person’s attendance at the Project gives major benefits to the Manx community and employers. In particular:
- The Isle of Man Youth Motor Project improves employability for young people by helping them make informed and realistic choices. We can change their approach and set of expectations and aspirations to help them become more socially productive.
- Regular workshops and activities function as a transition between formal education and “the working world” or between community isolation and reintegration.
- The young people challenge their attitudes, ending up with positive ways of thinking, useful practical skills and lower levels of prejudice and intolerance.
- The Project works towards reducing youth offending, anti-social, misanthropic and other undesirable behaviours.