10 wonderful ways parents can benefit from the Step Up Programme


Step Up is a unique programme aimed at young people in the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin areas, who are aged between 15 and 24 years, and not currently engaging in training, education or employment.


The programme offers bespoke, one-to-one support for young people to explore the wide range of opportunities open to them, to overcome barriers and to secure progressions in full or part time employment, volunteering, apprenticeships, education at all levels and vocational training. 


As well as bringing a multitude of benefits for young people, the programme also has tremendous advantages for parents. In this month’s blog, we explore the top 10 benefits for parents and carers accessing support for their young person through the Step Up programme.


#1. You’ll get invaluable support


As well as the strong focus on supporting the individual to achieve their personal and career goals, the programme also provides relevant and up to date information, advice and guidance for parents and carers. In doing so, the Step Up team can help to resolve any concerns and worries around employment, education and training, with minimal stress and effort for both parents, carers and young people.


#2. It builds your young person’s confidence and motivation 


One of the benefits of the programme is the impact it can have on a young person’s confidence and motivation – not only within an educational or work environment, but in life in general. By developing a personalised development plan with their keyworker, each young person will be supported to reflect on their needs and expectations for their next step, while exploring their areas for development, concerns and worries to create a clear, structured plan with manageable actions.


In recognising and celebrating each achievement and seeing the value in the actions they complete, young people feel more confident in their own abilities and feel more motivated and proactive. 


#3. It’s completely free to take part in


The Step Up programme is fully funded, so there are no costs to any parent, carer or individual for the support provided. Additionally, the team may also be able to help with funding for items like work uniforms, PPE, travel, DBS checks and replacement ID documentation.


#4. The approach is tailored to your young person


When a young person first embarks on the Step Up programme, they’ll be assigned a keyworker who’ll invite them to meet and create a bespoke development plan that’s tailored to their personal journey. This includes setting manageable, measurable and achievable goals, as well as clear guidance to help them progress at a pace that is right for them. 


It might involve things like planning and undertaking work experience, exploring job families and careers, short courses and vocational licences, interview and application preparation, CV development, speculative approaches to employers, travel planning, self organisation and time management. It could also involve coping strategies for anxieties, health and wellbeing signposting, self-esteem and confidence building, and taking pride in your community.


#5. You’ll get guidance on qualifications, education and training providers


Many parents, carers and young people are understandably confused about the options available within post 16 education, training and apprenticeships. The Step Up team can assist you in exploring all the amazing opportunities available, so that young people can make confident, informed choices on their next steps, immediately and for the future. The team can answer questions on long and short course offers, qualification levels and the pathways each course can lead to.


#6. It’ll help your young person to identify potential careers


Many young people have a limited awareness of what careers they can consider for their future, and Step Up can help them develop knowledge and understanding through activities and research to make informed decisions on their futures. We work with them to identify realistic potential future careers, and determine the steps necessary to progress into their chosen roles.


#7. Hundreds of parents have seen their young person thrive


The programme has already benefited hundreds of parents, carers and young people across both counties, and we regularly receive positive feedback from parents on how it’s helped their young person to thrive. Most note a significant difference in confidence, wellbeing and motivation, as well as praising the flexibility, positivity, professionalism and encouragement provided by our keyworkers. 


Each individual may believe there’s a barrier to them reaching their goals, whether it’s mental health, being a young parent or carer, having a learning or physical disability, being homeless, having a substance misuse issue or requiring support to access a GP or dentist. The Step Up team have excellent relationships with a range of external agencies, providers and charities across both localities and are very proactive in ensuring each young person has access to the right information.


#8. We can create new job opportunities for your young person 


The Step Up team are proactive in seeking a the right employment or apprenticeship opportunity at the right time, with the right employer. We rarely wait for the perfect vacancy to appear and instead use our close working relationships with local employers to create suitable opportunities for local young people as part of the future workforce. 


This could include ‘job carving’ where we liaise with the employer and young person to explore, negotiate and tailor an opportunity for the young person to thrive. We might agree things like start and finish times or additional training for specific duties. We also work with other areas of Enable and Shropshire Council to access initiatives like Independent Travel Training, which supports countless young people to travel confidently on public transport around the county. This also takes pressure off parents in terms of travel arrangements to school, college or work. 


#9. It can be invaluable for mental health and wellbeing


We’ve all faced some unprecedented challenges over the last couple of years, none more so than the cohorts of young people who have seen their secondary, college and university studies disrupted and who’ve had to embrace new ways of working without the benefits of a classroom environment and face to face support. 


The resulting mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety can seriously impact a young person’s ability to interact confidently and effectively in a range of environments. Step Up helps young people to identify and resolve their anxieties, enabling them to build resilience, motivation and self-esteem while managing their emotions and realising their potential. We’re regularly amazed at the tenacity, resilience and adaptability that so many young people are demonstrating. 


#10. Parents and carers are supported to help their young people


Supporting your young person into education, training or the workplace can be very stressful for parents and carers. There’s a lot to organise and sometimes it can feel overwhelming trying to find answers to all your questions. Ultimately though, there’s a common goal of building happy futures for each young person. 


Many parents and carers who approach us have concerns over a young person’s ability to cope in a new environment, with new peer groups or colleagues, working at higher levels, or are unsure what kind of support might be needed to achieve their goals. As a team, Step Up ensure that parents, carers and young people can feel heard, understood and supported as they move forward.


For more information about the Step Up programme, contact Shelley Instone, Step Up’s Recruitment Officer, on 07458 124420 or email step-up@shropshire.gov.uk to arrange an initial chat.