Trades 4 Aid is an innovative scheme based at City College, Brighton which arranges funding for vulnerable 14-19 year olds to take part in Sports and Construction projects at communities in need in Africa.
These trips are amazing, once in a lifetime experiences for the students, all of whom come from deprived areas of Brighton and Hove, or who have become disengaged from education. The project has a really positive impact on the students involved allowing them to develop essential skills and a long lasting confidence that can be transferred to their future lives.
A grant from East Brighton Trust in June 2013 helped fund a trip to Tanzania the following summer.
Tutor and co-ordinator Meraud Davies told us more about the type of students that become involved in the project and the experience they had:
“Many of the students have had very negative prior educational experiences and have come to us with no qualifications. All of the learners have been school refusers, on extremely reduced time tables, or have been excluded from school and placed in pupil referral units, prior to coming to college. Some have been involved in low level crime and anti-social behaviour. Others are in care or have little support from their families. They are all at risk of being categorised as NEETS (Not in Education, Employment, or Training).
Trades 4 Aid have provided mentoring for all of the learners to keep them on track with their courses, and have set up projects to take vulnerable learners to Africa to work in local schools to improve their life prospects.
During our stay in Tanzania our learners experienced working in a primary school in a remote town to renovate uninhabitable classrooms. They filled floors, walls, built steps, replaced windows, and painted. They also interacted with the local schoolchildren, leading activities including games and making jewellery, learning and teaching dances and enlisting their help with the renovation. The students also lived in basic conditions without running water, travelled overland for 10 hours to and from the school. They spent time on safari, visited towns and local markets. They experienced local hospitality, local food. They interacted with adults from the UK who they did not know, and with local adults.
For some of our learners, it was their first time abroad and on a plane.
Some of the skills developed included building the confidence to talk to different types of people from a wide range of backgrounds, Trusting relationships, Skills training, Problem solving, Safe behaviour and Taking responsibility.
All of the eight learners who went on the trip are now attending Level 1 and Level 2 courses at City College or are in full time employment.
Three of the learners happily agreed to take time out of their day to be interviewed by film students for a short film. The maturity that they showed towards the film students, and their respectful dialogue with them, was testament to the social gains they had acquired on the trip.”
Watch the Trades 4 Aid film on youtube.