On Tuesday 6th February 2018, the whole Talent Match London and Talent Match Croydon partnership came together for our annual Share and Learn. Organised by Pamela Masha, the organisation’s Partnerships Officer, the Share and Learn is a day where everyone comes together to learn, reflect and network. It was a packed day but everyone got something out of it.

The day started with an energiser led by Youth Leadership Officer, Ari Johnston. In the spirit of sharing and learning, we were split into groups and asked to discuss our most successful moments while working for Talent Match London, and our most challenging moments. One highlight is seeing the impact that the programme has had on young people. I imagine that this was echoed across all of the groups, and left everyone feeling very good about themselves.

This was swiftly followed by two presentations.

The first one was from Danny Shoultz, the Programme Manager for Croydon, who spoke about data from 2017. Here are some highlights. As of December 2017, the total engagement was 2,369 young people, which means that we are on target for a total of 2,500 young people being engaged by the end of the programme. 1126 young people have gone onto positive pathways, which is 90% of the way to our target of 1,250 young people by the end of the year.

The second presentation was from Phil Kerry, Director of Programmes at London Youth, who spoke about the legacy of Talent Match after the programme finishes at the end of the year. He asked us to think about what we wanted after the programme and what questions we had, which led to an interesting, if slightly intense, discussion about people’s concerns about the impact Talent Match would continue to have on young people after the programme ends.

It was the first of the Pecha-Kucha speakers next – Donna Pollard, from Rinova, who spoke about employability. She spoke about the fact that helping young people find employment isn’t just about finding them opportunities, but is also about caring for them. It was lovely to see the personal side of being a support worker.

After a short break, it was time for the World Café session. World Café is a system of discussion where there is a collection of tables, on which there are different topics, and the participants move around the room, discussing the topics. Some of the topics included youth participation, qualifying for jobs, and policy.

Our second Pecha-Kucha was next: Bryony Jones from MENCAP spoke about inclusion and the impact it has had on her as a support worker. She was very eloquent about what inclusion means to young people and, much like Donna, the personal impact that it has had on her as a support worker.

After lunch, it was time for more sessions, including two presentations. The first presentation was from Jeremy Crook, CEO of the charity Black Training and Enterprise Group. He spoke about the race disparity in the UK and race in work. Highlights included the connection between ethnic last names and interview selections. The second presentation was about fundraising, led by Gareth Price, Head of Development at London Youth. In between the presentations were breakout sessions, one of which was about wellbeing, led by Anne from MIND. This was the breakout session that I attended and I learnt a lot.

All in all, it was a brilliant day and an eventful way to kick off learning for the last year of Talent Match. Here’s hoping the rest of the year continues in the same vein!