Failure is more about not trying

Our key worker Kerren Smith has written about her experience in helping one young person overcome low self-esteem to get back into education.

Our young person was referred to #Focus5 due to irregular/poor attendance at school. He was in year 11 but had become increasingly despondent about his future and felt his lack of effort in year 9 had created an insurmountable backlog. He was completely overwhelmed and was unsure if he would get any qualifications. All this culminated in his decision to refuse sitting his looming exams.

His low self-belief was his main barrier. We worked together on his action plan to encourage more regular school attendance. I would collect him and accompany him. We linked in with his teachers  as contacts. We looked at his transition options and visited Train4All in Somerton. Using motivational techniques helped our young person to identify his skills and strengths. Our main focus was to morph his thinking from problem focussed to solution focussed – it was critical he understood that success will follow his efforts. We ‘shelved’ his past and focussed on the present and the need to apply effort to achieve any grade. He learned that failure is more about not trying. If he tries, then whatever he gets is an accomplishment. We looked at the impact of not trying, on his self-esteem.

We took a trip to Ham Hill country park to work on confidence, wellbeing and reducing isolation.

#Focus5 funded his kit for an NCS three-week course – to improve his employability skills: teamwork, communication, community work etc and to provide inclusivity so that he felt like he belonged. After months of dedication and listening to the coaching sessions, he agreed to attend an informal interview at Yeovil College with me to discuss his options. He came away saying he felt more positive about his future. This led to us applying for Yeovil College online during the Summer term and he started a progression pathways course which included functional skills Maths and English in September 2019. He rated his experience on the project as ‘very good’. In a later follow up call, our young person said that he still thinks about the advice and help he received from #Focus5 and misses his Key Worker’s positivity 😊