─ By Dr Sharon Clancy

On Thursday July 25th the England Youth Panel met for the final time in the life of the Enliven project at the University of Nottingham Ingenuity Centre. The event, which included filming of young people’s own stories, was supported by several members of the Enliven team – John Holford, Ruth Elmer, Claire Palmer, Bob John and myself – and we all converged with a group of young people in a dark studio room on the hottest July day on British record! The temperature topped 38 degrees and we all gamely sweltered through the morning until a pizza lunch at 12, when the filming continued until 2.

John and I updated on the Enliven findings and we had a fascinating discussion with the young people who attended, looking at the barriers to, and enablers of, participation in education, training and work. We had hired a filmmaker, Alex Wilkinson, who talked to 3 of the young people about their own experience, drawing out the key messages about the specific support needs for young people furthest from the labour market and about their ambitions, hopes and dreams for work and education. The young people were cool and confident as they were filmed, despite having no previous experience in front of a camera. We also heard testimony from Rueben Williams, the lead for the Young and Successful project in Nottingham, who gave a stirring practitioner perspective on the importance of moving beyond a ‘one size fits all’ model of support for young people who require a personalised approach. Bob John talked about the work of the Computer Science team and I gave an overview on Enliven and what the project has been trying to achieve.  We are hoping that this film material will create an exciting addition to our national dissemination event in Britain and may also offer a young peoples’ voice at the final conference in Belgium.