When we brought together some very willing young people hoping to form a group of Ambassadors for Talent Match, we knew there would be some challenges. The only things thing they had in common were the multiple barriers they faced and the isolation that comes from long-term unemployment. The group had very little experience of working as a team and was a diverse mix of backgrounds, physical and mental abilities, race, religion and sexuality.
We needed them to gel, so we took them out of their comfort zone and embarked on a residential which challenged them both physically and mentally. Being away from home in a totally different environment always gives us the opportunity to facilitate the process of team building. We guided the group through the different stages needed to become high-functioning team members who can recognise the strengths in everyone, embrace difference and fulfil their role of representing their peers.
The Ambassadors’ residential successfully created a team of people who have an equal voice, who seek to represent others, suggest ongoing improvements and who are proud of the responsibilities that their role brings. The team have gone on to make important improvements to the programme, they meet regularly and have become more than casual friends; they often refer to themselves as #family. The group have formed a bond that that has increased their social network of friendship and support and they will take this with them when they leave the programme and long into the future. What a difference a residential can make.