Positive role models for work and employment
Positive role models for work have a big impact on young people: opening up their minds to different employment opportunities. Adults with varied jobs and work ethics can speak with young people of their work and have 1-1 sessions at their workplace to show what employment opportunities are possible.
I used to run a positive role model programme in London. It was targeted at young people, using positive role models of similar ethnic and cultural background to speak about their work. I've seen young people visibly change, and be more encouraged to apply for work placements. Some have said that they used to think City jobs were not for them, but having visited the place and spoken with the role models, they realised that they could do it
The MERLIN programme (not operational anymore) used to be run by Business in the Community in London. I was the programme manager. I was inspired by positive role models myself and realised that young people could open up their thinking for more varied jobs by meeting positive role models in employment and with skills that the young people or career counselors might not have even thought of themselves.
Note the the MERLIN programme is not running anymore.
African-caribbean role models in the MERLIN programme
The programme runs on a membership of many businesses who provide their staff as volunteers to speak about their jobs. Schools sign up to have the role models speak at the school, and help with work-related sessions. The more successful activities are the students' visits to the workplace. The students meet the staff and also 'play a game' to understand how the industry functions.
The success is not just about staff speaking about their jobs. The role models need to be themselves positive, and enthusiastic about their work to be able to transmit the positivity. Students know the real deal and can detect imposters or worse get turned off.