YES Conferences

Motivation Conference – Year 9

The Motivation Conferences are for students in Year 9 and their aim is to motivate them into thinking about themselves, their aspirations and what they can achieve. 40 students from two schools spend the day at the Marriott Hotel, engaged in a range of activities designed to give the students a greater awareness of themselves and enable them to set achievable targets. They are seated on tables of 5 that are mixed gender and a mix of the two attending schools. Each table has two facilitators who support and guide them through the activities.

The day starts with a team building exercise which identifies their strengths and weaknesses when working with others. The range of activities that follow help the students to explore their skills and attributes in preparation for choosing a pathway to employment. During the day the students enjoy lunch in the Hotel’s restaurant and the day concludes with a Certificate of Attendance being presented to each student by the Mayor local to their school.

In consultation with local schools and businesses, young peopleʼs poor employability skills have been identified as a major barrier to success in finding employment. Issues around confidence and motivation can arise where there is poor support at home or limited role models to inspire and inform.

One solution is to give these young people an opportunity to be enthused by inspirational speakers and together focus on their futures and allow them to feel valued. This is what the YES Motivation Conference is all about. In line with the increased number of young people participating the conference format is regularly revised and improved, using the professional skills of education and training professionals in consultation with the schools involved which together have identified the key issues to be addressed. The delegates continue to be selected, specially, to gain the most from the experience and support that is provided by adult facilitators. The issues are covered by three themes, which are explored in turn throughout the day with interactive talks, workshop sessions, films and fun activities. The first theme looks at different types of job and work environments with delegates identifying preferences as they consider the pros and cons of a variety of options and match job descriptions to corresponding job titles.

The second theme focuses on the delegates themselves exploring their individual aspirations, strengths and hopes and fears to reveal potential career areas and produce a personal action plan. Rounding off the morningʼs activities is an opportunity to question a panel of inspirational local people with diverse backgrounds and successful careers. The panel then joins the delegates and their facilitators for lunch. The afternoon theme builds on the morningʼs work culminating in a Life Road-Map identifying a goal or destination with milestones along the way.

This introduces the importance of the right qualifications and training, where to find advice and help, how to deal with obstacles, and tools that might be helpful along the way such as coaching, mentoring and financial advice. Finally delegates are asked to complete an evaluation form before being presented with certificates by an invited dignitary and a short photo session


This follows a similar allocation of students to tables, again with two Facilitators on each table. Schools are encouraged to send the same cohort of students to the WOW conference that attended the Motivation conference. In this way we can support their progression. The day begins with a team building exercise which again identifies their strengths and weaknesses when having to work with others.

Activities during the morning continue to develop the students’ transferable skills and introduce them to the many and varied opportunities there are in the world of work. YES is fortunate to have a group of volunteers from a variety of businesses and professions who give of their time to attend the Conference, in order to share their expertise and experience in their field of work.

Prior to the Conference the students are asked to identify a career / careers they are interested in. After lunch they have the opportunity to talk in depth to the representatives from the Businesses. During this session they are given advice, realistic information and direction for the pathway for their chosen career.

The day concludes with a Certificate of Attendance being presented to each student by the Mayor local to their school.

The World of Work (WOW) Conference is designed as a follow-on from the Motivation Conference. The day is split into two programmes. In the morning presentations, workshops and other activities look at the job market and explore practical ways to search for a job, avoid common pitfalls and create applications that have the best chance of succeeding. After lunch delegates have the opportunity to meet with local business people who have been specifically matched to their career aspirations.

For some, this will be one-to-one and for others, in groups of two or three. The format for the morning mirrors the motivation conference with delegates in small groups and adult facilitators. Evaluation of a ice-breaking team activity, linked to a later questionnaire, gives the delegates an idea of the types of skill-sets they would bring to the workplace and an indication of the sorts of job roles they could consider. A presentation on the world of work turns a number of preconceptions completely on their head and gives an insight into the smart way to find the right vacancies and apply for them successfully. It also covers the pitfalls and common mistakes that lie behind rejection and particularly focuses on the increasing use of social media both as a recruitment tool and a vetting tool. In practical sessions, delegates re-evaluate their CVs in light of what they have learnt and by comparing poor, average and excellent examples. They then work on their personal statements looking at impact, immediacy, relevance and tailoring rewriting this tailored for their ideal job. Delegates and facilitators are joined at lunch by an invited dignitary and the business people they will be meeting in the afternoon. The afternoon sessions consist of the delegates meeting the business people and enjoying productive discussions about the world of work they have chosen for their careers. Any delegates with a second career option can elect to visit two business people if demand allows.

At the end of the day, delegates are asked to complete an evaluation form before being presented with certificates by the invited dignitary

What is a Facilitator

A Facilitator’s role is key to the success of our Conferences. They may be members of our Committee, but we have many other volunteers, known to our Partnership, who are willing to support the day.

The Facilitators oversee the engagement of students during the Conference activities and motivate and encourage their involvement in the day. They aim to build working relationships with the young people recognising their strengths and aiming to build their confidence.

There are always two Facilitators to each table of five students. ensuring they can give time and attention to each young person. Many interesting and rewarding conversations take place between student and Facilitator during the day. We have suggested some guidelines for our Facilitators ,in order that they can more comprehensively appreciate the requirements of the role.

Our Facilitators see their involvement as a CSR – a Corporate Social Responsibility opportunity. Such is the enjoyment and satisfaction they gain from the day many of our Facilitators are “regulars”.

If you are interested in participating at our Conferences in this role please contact us and read our Guidelines HERE.