Young people an ‘active influence’ in Doncaster Trust

Becca and Mica, apprentices at Doncaster CST
Becca and Mica, apprentices at Doncaster CST

New apprentices are helping to ensure the voices of children and young people are heard, in matters that affect them in Doncaster.

Schemes developed by the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust include the appointment of its first apprentices, and they are helping to shape future services all ready.

It is hoped that care leavers Mica and Becci can help the Trust connect with even more young people.

The innovative Trust has a Young Advisors’ scheme, introduced by chief executive Paul Moffat. Within this, young people in care and care leavers tell Paul and senior leaders how to build services to benefit young people.

Mica and Becci are among the group of advisors who have already played vital roles in large scale events,

These included the Trust’s series of staff summits and its second anniversary celebration.

The latter was attended by Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson and the UK’s Chief Social Worker Isabelle Trowler.

Advisors shared their experiences of growing up in care, to help delegates understand the need to transform services.

They also spoke about the journey towards those changes and delivered presentations alongside service heads on how they have helped with a review of residential services - including advising against single sex homes and offering suggestions of how new residents could best be welcomed in.

They have been involved in more than 35 interview panels, and have been down to Westminster to talk to MPs about the need for siblings in care to have contact.

One of Becci and Mica’s friends and Young Advisor colleagues has helpedthe Trust to understand the perspective of growing up in care as a gay teenager.

As part of their apprentice roles, Becci and Mica will study for Children and Young People’s Workforce qualifications.

Becci said: “I was really shy when I first became an advisor but now I love doing the events and advising Paul and the managers on all sorts of things that affect children and young people.”

Mica added: “Through the advisor role, I have gained confidence and a sense of purpose.

“I now know that I would like to be a social worker and the apprenticeship is the first step towards this.”

Both young women are impressed by the level of influence they are given at the Trust and the fact that people actually listen to them.

“The Young Advisor role is not just a token gesture. Things actually do change because of what we say,” said Becci.

A total of seven young people apprenticeships are offered at the Trust.