Over an April weekend, at the PGL centre in Liddington near Swindon, 53 young people undertook the new Peer Education Award to build and accredit their abilities as peer educators in first aid.
Participants came from around the UK, bringing a range of experience and academic levels. They made up the largest group that UK Youth has worked with on Peer Qualifications – an entire 'course' had to be designed and ready to pilot in just a few weeks.
The training was delivered in three groups, with two UK Youth staff supported by two experienced St John Ambulance trainers in each. The staff teams worked up to 16 hours a day to ensure that all the learning outcomes and assessment criteria could be met to satisfy the qualification.
Outdoor activities were incorporated into the programme to complement the time spent in the classroom on structured and informal discussions, role plays, small group work and presentations.
The weekend experience provided enough material for each young person to build the portfolios they needed for their Peer Education Awards.
Over those few days, the participants moved from being ‘the ones who know about first aid' to young people with peer education skills. The intensity of the experience meant that attitudes towards their role changed quite dramatically – something rarely seen as clearly in longer-term programmes.
For the young peer educators, the final session was a mass celebration of the work done and friends made. For the staff, the close of the course meant that there was much to evaluate – and a great deal to celebrate!
The young people will now go back to their communities to teach first aid skills to others in youth groups and schools.
Mani Sherwin, Youth Strategy Manager, St John Ambulance comments: “the pilot was a great success for all the young people involved and it will, hopefully, see the two organisations working more closely in the future. We’re committed to helping young people to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved, and empowering them to pass on these life saving skills to their peers.”
click here for more on the Peer Education Award.
click here for more on St John Ambulance