In this Q&A with Tammy Tywang, Restorative Practice Relationship Worker for North Yorkshire County Council, we dig a little deeper into their Restorative Practice Academy for service connected young people aged 16-25.
Q1. What is the Restorative Practice Academy?
It is a service that provides 16-25 year olds with service-connected experience the opportunity to work within North Yorkshire County Council as a colleague and an employee. They work alongside children, young people and families who may be needing additional support for various reasons, for example, family conflict. The Academy practices trauma-informed approaches, this acts as a golden thread for the work that is undertaken with young people and families. The Restorative Practice Relief Workers are provided with training, payment and support throughout their employment. The Academy commenced in North Yorkshire in December 2017.
Q2. What training would a young person passing through the Restorative Practice Academy receive?
Restorative Practice Relief Workers undertake a two-day induction accredited programme that is continually evolving. The training covers Trauma-Informed Practice, Restorative Practice at a foundation level, Safeguarding, and ‘Being ready to work in the Public Sector’. Restorative Practice Relief Workers are also offered the opportunity to undertake a group ASDAN award, which includes a 750-word essay, a completed CV, two professional supervisions and four reflective journals as part of their career progression. They are also required to complete mandatory in-house E-Learning modules before being introduced to the families that they will work alongside.
Q3. What form does the training take?
The training is a mixture of face-to-face, work-based reflections and online training. The Restorative Practice Relief Workers are paid to undertake the training – they ‘earn as they learn’.
Q4. How long does training last?
Initial training is a full two-day training session, with additional learning twilight sessions around Trauma-Informed Practice, parental conflict and a number of E-learning sessions. The training approach is flexible and we can revisit sessions with the Restorative Practice Relief Workers who we feel may benefit from further support before working with families.
Q5. Who can come to the Academy?
We currently employ young people who are service-connected and are aged between 16 – 25 years old. Young people can be nominated by a professional they have worked within the Early Help or Leaving Care services, for example.
Q6. How many people do you expect to train at any given time?
The Restorative Practice Academy operates as a County-wide service. We currently work within the guidelines of a maximum number of ten Relief Workers being employed at any time.
Q7. Do people learn in groups or individually?
The Restorative Practice Relief Workers learn in groups and then individually via E-learning modules. They are offered group supervisions with their peers that as part of their learning journey. They also receive one-to-one supervision sessions on a fortnightly basis until their supervisor feels they are emotionally ready to be introduced to a family and then supervision will be provided monthly.
Q8. Is there a charge and if so, how much?
The only costs incurred by NYCC are the overall yearly accreditation costs paid to the accredited organisation for the ASDAN award. There is no cost to the Relief Workers for the training provided to them.
Q9. Do people stay connected to the Academy and each other or do they ‘graduate’?
This varies from person to person, in some instances young people use their experience from working within the Academy to move forwards in a different direction. Additionally, some young people have transitioned on to attend university or college, secured full-time employment within the NYCC or the private sector, and gained apprenticeships following their time at the Academy. We have found that the Academy promotes lasting relationships and friendships between the Relief Workers and the Academy staff and they will often keep in touch.
Q10. What feedback have you had from participants?
Restorative Practice Relief Workers tell us that this approach allows them to work in a specialist area and develop their skills and experience working with young people and families who are struggling. Additionally, the ‘earning as they are learning’ element of the Academy allows them to develop skills whilst they gain some financial independence.
Families who are being supported often tell us that the children in the family form positive relationships with the Restorative Practice Relief Worker, as they often present as a mentor to the child because of their shared life experiences.
Q11. What differences have you noticed to the mindset of young people going through the Academy?
Restorative Practice Relief Workers can practice working with families from a trauma-informed perspective whilst using their own life experiences to develop relationships and build trust with these families.
They can see behaviour as a way of communication and can offer children and their families a compassionate service that isn’t time-limited. As well as receiving foundation level Restorative Practice training that guides them to help families repair relationships that may have become fractured; they are introduced to a number of resources and approaches that they can utilise with families to help build relationships.
Restorative Practice Relief Workers can recognise how the brain reacts to stress and early trauma, and the detrimental impact this can have on a child. They are able to view families through a lens of renewed self-worth and this, in turn, allows them to recalibrate in a safe and supported environment, encouraging positive sustained changes.
If there are any questions that weren’t covered in the presentation or video, you can get in touch with Tammy.