Peering Ahead is a Peer Mentoring Project for young people who are in care or who have been in care. The project is in partnership with Voices from Care (VFC) who are a welsh organisation who work to help care experienced children and young people understand their rights and to have their voice heard. Within the partnership VFC are working with young people to make the issues that they face a priority with those in government who make decisions that affect their lives.
NYAS are taking the lead in developing Peering Ahead where mentors will use their experiences and skills to help other young people to make a plan and work towards achieving their employment and educational goals.
What are Peer Mentors?
Peer Mentors are aged between 18-29 and the majority are care experienced or have an understanding of the issues young people in care may face. As they are close in age to those that they mentor (the mentees), they have recent memories of going through similar experiences. They can offer advice, be an ear to listen and a voice to help guide the young person that they are matched with. These mentors can work one to one or with groups of young people.
Mentors have to be available to complete the training and can chose to gain a qualification. This is OCN Level 2 in Understanding Peer Mentoring and Peer Mentoring Skills. The Project Development Worker will support Peer Mentors who chose to do this.
Who can have a Peer Mentor?
Any young person who has care experience and is aged between 15 to 25 and thinking about their future career and/or educational options can request a Peer Mentor. They will meet regularly with their Peer Mentor or attend planned group mentoring sessions. The young person will have to live in Wales and provide information on their interests and ambitions that will help them to be matched with the mentor who can best support them to achieve their goals.
How will Peer Mentors help?
During the regular meetings they can help the young person to take steps towards gaining employment and to get work experience. Peer Mentors can also help work towards obtaining the educational qualifications that will help young people to achieve their goals. For those young people who are unsure what they would like to do for a career they can have support to explore their options.
If you are interested in having a Peer Mentor or in becoming a Peer Mentor, please contact the Youth Peer Development Worker Wales – Samantha Anderson.
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