Feedback Friday: Urban AFK Residential

Group sitting around a conference table

Feedback Friday is all about empowering young people to have their say and to help us understand what each individual really wants from the services they access at my AFK. Read more here.


We use the information to deliver real change – this time, in our Urban Adventure residential for trainees – and let our young people know that their opinions really matter.


We redesigned our annual residential for trainees in the Life and Work Programme based on their feedback, which also provided us with a platform for them to increase their confidence, communication and decision making skills.

Group sitting on the train platform at Stratford
Young woman raising her hand at a conference table with others sitting and standing around her

When we asked the trainees in 2016 what they wanted out of the residentials going forward, they told us that they liked having an overnight away from their families as a chance to develop some independence, but they no longer wanted to stay at traditional outdoor activity centres in the country and walk through mud (we can’t argue with that!)


Apart from already having explored a lot of these centres with their school when they were younger, they now felt that they should be given the opportunity to do things that were more age-appropriate and could support them with their budgeting, travel training and employability goals. All of our trainees live in London and hope to gain employment in London so it was important that we created an urban residential to reflect this.


The two days were designed to provide enough of a challenge that they felt good about their achievements and wanted to continue to develop their skills long after the fun had ended.


On Day One, trainees were given the challenge of visiting an employer and taking part in practical sessions. Two members of the group took this opportunity to visit Marcel, a former trainee of my AFK, at the leading global design and consultancy firm where he works in the post room, sorting and delivering the mail.

Young man pushing a trolley full of post

Our job coaches marvelled at the change in Marcel’s demeanour as he became a trainer for the day, imparting all his knowledge to the visiting trainees as he talked about his role and then demonstrated what needed to be done with careful precision. Marcel gave encouragement when the trainees followed his instructions and he discreetly checked their work to ensure it was up to his high standard before it left the post room. He was calm and patient and demonstrated a different side than anyone had seen before and our job coach noted that in that moment she no longer considered him simply a former trainee, but a man who was proud of himself and his job – and rightly so.


By redesigning the residential to actively achieve outcomes for both advocacy and employability we have been able to witness first-hand the impact it has on young disabled people when they enter the workforce. Our intention was to provide an opportunity for new trainees to develop skills that would benefit them as they journey through our programme. The residential not only achieved this, but also allowed us to capture the impact our work has long after their journey with us has ended.

Young man smiling at work in the post room
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