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Co-op Young Members’ Group have been working with young people throughout the coronavirus pandemic to explore the ways they and Co-op can offer support during these uncertain times.
With the crisis affecting education and employment opportunities for many young people, the Co-op Young Members’ Group (CYMG) launched Boost – a free online skills programme – aimed at helping 16-25-year-olds develop their learning, build confidence and support their wellbeing.
The workshops covered a range of topics including resilience and wellbeing, understanding your values and CV and interview techniques. Some were facilitated by experts from Co-op who shared their expertise and top tips, as well as answering questions.
Other events were led by the CYMG members on topics like seizing opportunities and developing yourself. These focussed on bringing together young people to connect, share advice and experiences through open conversation led by other young people. Access our free Boost Club resources here.
We caught up with some of the young people who joined us on the sessions to find out why they got involved and what they thought of them.
Having recently completed her university course, Co-op Member, Laura, read about the sessions in a Co-op email and signed up to the CV and Interview session.
I thought the session would give me an opportunity to help improve my CV and give me tips for interviews, so that I am more likely to get a graduate job sooner.Laura, Co-op Member
Steve, from Carlisle, heard about the workshops through a friend and via social media. He enjoyed the first event so much that he decided to sign up for five more.
Each session was different, and they covered a range of interesting topics.Steve, Co-op Member
The hour-long Boost sessions were held online via Zoom video call and participants found them to be more relaxed and easier to attend than a physical learning group.
It was convenient to join on Zoom, the presentation slides were good, and I found engaging easier than in a physical situation.Steve, Co-op Member
Laura agrees and says it was easier for her to commit the time to the sessions as they didn’t involve any travel to a venue.
It was great having the informality of a drop-in style chat which put us all at ease to ask questions and share each other’s knowledge with the group too.Laura, Co-op Member
Participants were particularly impressed with the ‘brilliant’, ‘relevant’ and ‘well-focused’ content of each session. Which was “set out and presented in very interesting and fun ways”, explains Chloe.
I liked how collaborative and inclusive the sessions were and how involved everyone was in each discussion.Liam, Member Pioneer
The content was jam-packed into the schedule, which was great. We learnt as much as we possibly could in the time.Laura, Co-op Member
And some of those newly honed skills are already proving useful.
The content discussed has been helpful in recent job interviews and when looking for volunteering work.Ryan, Co-op Member
We know music can help support our wellbeing and lift our mood, so during the Resilience Soundtrack Session we invited participants to share their favourite uplifting tunes with us and together we created a special playlist to help them get through the tough times.
The sessions really helped me to learn how to cope better during lockdown and realise that nobody is struggling alone.Joseph, Co-op Member
The Co-op Academy student says he enjoys listening to upbeat music when he’s feeling down, while Liam’s go-to happy song is ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry “as it’s all about believing in yourself and igniting that spark inside of you to be different.”
Overall, the sessions helped young people feel knowledgeable, engaged and positive. And we’re really pleased to hear about how valuable they have been.
The sessions made me feel great about my job search. It was reassuring to know others are in similar positions but still keeping hope up, and that we are going about it in the right way.Laura, Co-op Member
I felt motivated as the sessions assured me on how to be confident.Chloe, Co-op Member
Those who attended the Boost sessions said they’d join in with similar online learning with Co-op in the future and would welcome video content, more music sessions and interview practice workshops. They’d also encourage other young people to take advantage of future online sessions.
Enjoy it, arrive a bit early so you can meet everyone at the start, and don’t be afraid to unmute your microphone and/or show your face.Laura, Co-op Member
Missed the sessions but want to check them out? Access the free Boost Club resources online here.
Do you have a particular go-to song that helps make you feel more resilient or able to take on the day? Let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #CoopJoinIn and we will add it to our playlist.
Deirdre, Della, Lewis, Marek, Saul
Co-op Young Members’ Group