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Our Thoughts - The Team


From organisational milestones, to new research and approaches, and further expansion of our free to access support package to the sector, it’s been quite the year at YMCA George Williams College. As we look back on all that we’ve learnt and achieved this year, we were keen for celebration to feature as part of our collective reflection. So, for this month’s ‘Our Thoughts’, we asked the team to share their own highlights of 2022. Here is what they said:


Kaz – Director of Learning 

I'm proud that within a year we have, conducted research to understand what support the sector needs in impact evaluation, designed a programme and resource hub to meet these needs, and advertised and started delivering sessions. I am proud we took the time to adopt an evidence informed approach, we mobilised quickly, and that the feedback indicates people are finding the training engaging and valuable. 


Soizic – Enterprise Development Manager 

This year has encouraged me to delve much deeper into the potential and challenges attached to social enterprise in the youth sector in the UK. I've been impressed by the EDP participants' tenacity, resilience, and constant commitment to the young people they work with despite a truly challenging context.  


Catherine – Organisational Learning Lead 

The #iwill Fund Impact Accelerator  final insights and recommendations report  was a milestone. It’s been a privilege to work alongside colleagues from three cohorts of organisations, undertaking deep and intentional improvement work, reflecting on how we can work together to improve the systems for meaningful improvement, and seeing the programme through from start to end (starting as a participant!)  


Erin – Communications and Partnerships Assistant 

I am proud of my work to translate our project research findings and learning to new audiences, alongside our recent Impact and Improvement tour, which connected us to many more peers and ideas in our sector. 


Bethia – CEO 

A highlight for me this year has been developing the use of our measures in a range of provision for young people. We're learning so much and so quickly about embedding evaluation into practice, and how this is experienced by both youth workers and young people. Most excitingly, we are continuing to find a relationship between quality practice and outcomes for young people - this sits at the heart of all our work. 


Sarah – Interim Qualitative Research Lead 

A highlight from my time at the College so far was going to Bristol to talk to a group of young people about their experiences of being involved with funding decisions. They were really inspiring! I really believe in the power of co-production, and they were showing how it can be done properly. 


Ryan – Team Administrator 

I’m proud of the role I had this year in making our Impact and Improvement tour a reality, and supporting the team with all that they needed to successfully deliver the events on the day. Hearing the great feedback from both our team and the delegates attending was extremely gratifying! 


Jo – Project Manager 

For me the biggest success of this year lies in the leaps and bounds we have taken in our work directly with young people, in championing a youth voice approach, and in developing learning and resources to support the sector with their own youth voice practice. There is much work still to do, but to look back on where we were in December 2021, I think the transformation in our knowledge and skill in this area is awesome. 


Josef – Digital Projects Lead 

I am proud to have worked on the data visualiser, a digital tool developed within the greater Youth Voice project that allows users to quickly visualise, explore, and interrogate quantitative survey data. We also opened up our data portal to the sector this year, providing  practitioners and organisations, of all shapes and sizes, with an easily accessible and intuitive home for their data collection. 


Zunaira – Research and Projects Assistant 

My highlight of this year has been working with our Young Evaluators on the #iwill Fund evaluation project. As we near our final milestones, I’m very proud of not only what the project means for our approach to embedding youth voice across our research but also the relationships and trust we’ve developed as a group. 


Tim – Head of Partnerships 

Having joined the College at the very end of October, my first month has been a blast! I am proud to have gotten involved with the roadshows which have been both informative and energising to hear the latest research that describes socio-emotional outcomes that happens during excellent youth provision, as well as meeting colleagues around the country. 


Hannah – Communications Manager 

There have been so many highlights this year! I’m particularly proud of our work in harnessing the power of digital to build dedicated online learning spaces through our resource and measurement hubs. No matter your location, resources, or ability, these hubs provide an opportunity for all practitioners to really dig into their practice and improve the quality of their provision for young people. Love it! 


Annie – Project Manager (Data Ecosystems) 

My highlight of the year has been joining the enthusiastic Data Ecosystem Partnership project team. It’s been such a delight to see the collective energy and commitment to build the sector’s capacity to gather impact data, which will help us improve the quality of provision for young people across the country.  


Helen – Deputy CEO 

A highlight this year has been working with the Back Youth Alliance to build momentum and an approach to shared data. Through strong collaboration, we will be better able to demonstrate the collective impact of youth work and influence policy makers and funders. 


Liz – Interim Director of Research and Evaluation 

I'm proud to have joined the team last month, and to be able to support a great bunch of people in the fantastic work they are doing! 


Simon – Head of Education 
The highlight for me this year has been the development of the Socio-Emotional Skill Development training course and resource hub, from conception to fully integrated offer.