Expanding the Esteem network through technology

With the help of our amazing donors, we have been able to scale up our online offer to youth workers during the pandemic to enable them to reach their young people with quality materials that would improve their relational and emotional wellbeing.

By offering our accredited training online (with agreement from Open College Network West Midlands), we have been able to deliver quality relationships and sex education training to significantly more people than expected! We were aiming to train 72 educators in 2021, but in fact, we almost doubled this - reaching 136 educators!

For this to happen, we needed to massively improve our technical equipment to meet the demands of online training. Thanks to a generous grant, we were able to purchase audio headsets, mics, webcams, appropriate lighting, and green screens for 3 of our staff.

In addition, the grant enabled us to send the 136 trainees physical resources for them to use during the training and with the young people they work with. This included our acclaimed resource #Isitok?, developed with Youthscape to help young people think about the risks of sexting. We were also able to buy a laser cutter and we are excited that we can now produce so many different training resources, making our offerings much more robust and long-lasting.

Trainees showing off some of the resources we sent them—made possible because by our donors' support

Feedback from the online training courses over the past year includes the following:

“The online training surprised me. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with my fellow learners or our educator, but with Gareth’s tech-savvy skills, and ability to come across so human and engaging it was really easy to learn and feel part of a classroom setting. The course being online made it very accessible, especially for those with disabilities.”

“It is thorough, informative, and fun. Literally the best Zoom training I've done - and I've really done a lot (and delivered quite a lot) these last couple of years.”

“I really liked that we received an envelope containing resources before training and the anticipation of opening them when prompted was really fun!”

Gareth delivering online training using the equipment a generous grant enabled us to buy

As a result of our bumper year of training, our Esteem Network now comprises 240 members who are passionate about delivering quality relationships and sex education to the young people they work with.

Through the network, we have reached more than 35,000 young people across the UK over this past year.

Here is some of the feedback from the young people our members reach:

 "A positive message from this lesson was to always acknowledge and be open about boundaries. There’s no reason to feel guilty for setting boundaries and not giving consent." Year 9 girl, Newcastle

"It was a good thing to be told about porn - often sex education in schools is very inadequate. The stats presented enabled me to gain a better understanding of the negatives of the porn industry." Year 12 girl, North East

“I feel better about myself. You have made me realise what I am worth.”Year 7 student, Twickenham

"I will use what I have learned from this workshop to help me whenever I am feeling stressed or upset.” Primary School Student, Weston-super-Mare

Supporting our members

Screenshot of CSE workshop

We were also able to run 9 online skills workshops for our members. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, especially as it helped members to feel connected and supported during such an isolating time. Topics included how to create digital resources, addressing child sexual exploitation and how to create quality lesson plans. Here is some of the feedback:

“I have found the live skill workshops incredibly helpful, especially around using technology to create materials and deliver remote lessons. I also really enjoyed learning to use OBS, as well as some really useful think tank discussion opportunities and the CSE (child sexual exploitation) workshop. I really appreciate the way we were given support and a chance to grow new skills during this challenging time.”

“The workshops have been very helpful. Particularly the workshops looking at adapting workshops to be delivered online. They helped me to adapt our parent/carer workshops to be delivered online. Also found the workshops looking at planning for post-pandemic very helpful.”