Ahead of its launch in Manchester in the New Year, a charity is looking for a group of talented, idealistic and enthusiastic young people to spear-head a programme which will not only help tackle educational inequality in the city, but will offer volunteers experience and training to improve their own prospects.
City Year Manchester is recruiting a pilot team of seven local 18-25 year olds, drawn from diverse backgrounds, to volunteer full-time from 5th January to 24th July, 2015 as near-peer role models, mentors and tutors in its very first school partnership in Manchester.
The volunteers, known as corps members, will spend Monday-Thursday supporting pupils in and out of the classroom at Manchester Enterprise Academy in Wythenshawe, while Fridays will be dedicated to ‘training and careers’, to support their own personal and professional development.
Independent research into the programme in London found compelling evidence that the one-to-one attention provided by corps members to struggling students, the assistance they offer to teachers and the role models they offer, all help pupils with their learning and achievement.
School staff, parents and pupils were highly positive about its involvement in their schools, with 95% of teaching professionals indicating that they would recommend it to someone else in their position in another school.
The research also found that a ‘City Year’ plays an important part in supporting corps members on their path to employment.
Alongside the weekly training and careers sessions, reliably being present during the whole school day, leading in class, volunteering in a team and engaging with pupils with multiple needs, leads to improvements in public speaking, personal discipline, teamwork, leadership, resilience and other transferable skills.
More than nine out of ten corps members were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience and 95 per cent said it prepared them for the world of work.
The inaugural City Year Manchester team will be led by new site leader, Matthew Stone, who volunteered with City Year Birmingham last year.
Matthew Stone said: “We’re looking for inspirational and idealistic 18-25 year olds to pioneer this programme in their city. It doesn’t matter whether they’ve just left school, university or are unemployed, they just need to be able to commit to a challenging, rewarding and once in a life-time experience. There are plenty of opportunities for young people to volunteer abroad but City Year Manchester will be about making a difference on their doorstep.”
Talking about his experience of volunteering for City Year in Birmingham during the 2013/14 academic year, he said: “I was fortunate to have had a mentor and plenty of support while I was growing up; people who showed me what possibilities lay ahead. City Year gave me the chance to provide that support and guidance to other young people and as I was just21 when I started volunteering, I didn’t face the same barriers that an older person might face.
To find out more about why young people do a ‘City Year’ have a look at our short film here and animation here.
The deadline for applicants for City Year Manchester’s pilot team is Friday 19th December. If you’d like any further information or to attend an information session, please email ManchesterRecruitment@cityyear.org.uk or, have a look at our website: www.cityyear.org.uk/index.php/apply-now