Degrees of Opportunity

Led by Anne-Marie Waugh

The genesis of this idea was a gathering held in Stockholm for projects supported by a leading Swedish  philanthropist, which included UnLtd India and MyBnk, both projects created by CIVA, and two projects incubated and supported by UnLtd India, Arpan (child abuse) and OSCAR (sport for education and leadership). At the gathering were 6 Swedish organisations working with young people to engage them in creating more positive futures for themselves, with some emphasis on engaging young people who had failed in the education system, young people at risk and young migrants. These organisations were working on music, sport, enterprise, personal development skills, but independently rather than in a more joined-up way.

Following this, CIVA wanted to explore ways in which young people could be challenged to engage more and develop more skills towards creating a more positive future for themselves, and for their effort to be recognised. We are seeking to encourage young people to do more and to do better, working with youth providers and also being challenged to create their own initiatives and make lifestyle choices.

During 2020-21, we worked with a group of young people in three boroughs in West London and had extensive consultations with youth services providers and statutory bodies including local Councils and the Probation Service. The programme will be further developed in 2021-22 for a formal launch in 2022.

Degrees of Opportunity is a collaboration of organisations supporting young people, providing greater choices and opportunities. We aim to reward and celebrate the achievement of young people, and providing them with a pathway to further develop their skills and leadership qualities beyond the programmes that they are currently engaged in.

There are lots and lots of projects and programs seeking to engage young people in constructive activity, from entrepreneurship to volunteering, from sport and culture to environmental action, from confidence building to personal skills development… even sailing around the world in tall ships. Can we find a way of encouraging young people to engage even more? Can we create a “menu of opportunities” for young people, and encouraged them to take part in more and different activities? And can we find a way of recognising and rewarding them for what they achieve?

Degrees of Opportunity is About Survival Skills. Either you’re naturally good at something, or want to be trained in it. This is the essence of street smarts, and of the Degrees of Opportunity programme. We will put you in touch with the correct organisation to help you get an accredited validation for your skills and any new things you learn under our programme. In this way, just like attending a traditional university, you can make your way through the Curriculum of Life and improve those skills necessary to your success and survival.

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