Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Valuing Each Other

I have been working with a group of unemployed people who have just completed an eight week Adult Education employability skills course called 'Your Aim Your Gain'. In a conversation, the tutor and I agreed that the group had bonded really well, and that it seemed such a shame that - due to the realities of funding - the course would be coming to an end. We decided, therefore, to encourage the students to form their own informal network and stay in touch. I am really pleased that this suggestion was met with enthusiasm, and that they intend to meet in the city centre on Thursday mornings.

Connecting is absolutely vital for people who are unemployed. Not only is the experience often so isolating and disempowering, it is also that work is a vital source of identity and status for people. The group have been working to develop skills to identify skills and aptitude in their peers, and I am hopeful that this process will continue between them. I certainly know that most jobs I've got have been as a result of someone else seeing that I'd be good at it, whereas I'd only see potential barriers. The ability of people to value each other, and give others status is really important.

I have also talked about the Five Ways to Wellbeing with this group, and they were all very interested. I think that if you give folk a practical and understandable set of principles (a 'toolkit') then they may be able to develop the personal resources to develop emotional resilience, even during these hard times.

Colin Howey <*((((><(

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