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Members have overwhelmingly backed the idea that Co-op should support young people to achieve their potential, by making education and skills part of our future community programme.
94% of the members who responded to my invitation to join in to talk about young people, education and skills, agreed that the issue was one which should command our attention. And three quarters (75%) agreed that Co-op was well placed to make a difference in this area, with our presence in local communities and links to schools being widely seen as a great asset and enabler.
Many members feel that the strong focus on academic achievement in recent years has resulted in a lack of opportunities for young people to develop other skills, such as life skills and confidence. And this was also borne out in the responses we heard when we asked them to select which of the areas of skills’ support identified by the Co-op Young Members’ Group they felt were most important.
Members deemed ‘Budgeting and financial awareness’ to be of greatest importance. Yet, three of the most mentioned areas fell within the broad area of mental wellbeing and self esteem – clearly deemed to be an area of greater need for young people than practical job-centred skills such as CV writing and interviewing.
My colleagues on the Council and myself were, again, greatly encouraged by members’ willingness to get involved in activities that would deliver changes for young people. Over three quarters said they’d be happy to continue sharing their opinions online, whilst 40% said they would be happy to contribute time to offer help and advice to young people locally.
This willingness, coupled with the shared experience of members in this area (over half were participating in something that relates to young people, education and skills) and all the learning we’ve received from this conversation will be incredibly powerful as we work with the Community and Shared Value team to move forward and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
In our third conversations with members on the themes of our future community programme, we’re talking about the spaces – be they green or indoors – that are at the heart of our communities. If you’d like to get involved, please visit the website.
And, if you’d like to get involved with something else, head to ‘Join In’ on your member account and see what opportunities are available right now.
National Members’ Council