One Planet Pioneers (OPP) is a project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund as part of the Our Bright Future programme. OPP is a collaboration of work between different partners, Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC), Actes Trust and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. The aim of the project is to develop the skills of young people aged 14-21 years old through environmental projects, events or one off activities.
One Planet Pioneers is designed to equip young people with a range of skills that can be taken to prospective employers. OPP apprentices and volunteers take part in a diverse range of activities using the One Planet Living approach. They assist with outdoor education for local school groups and at community events including managing green spaces in and around Middlesbrough, learning how to fell trees, coppicing, planting, footpath work, wildflower grassland management and developing skills to grow fruit and veg from seed on MEC community growing sites and at school garden clubs.
One Planet Pioneers aims to:
Improve Social cohesion – To bring people together from all walks of life. Although the project age range is 14-21 years old it is important to work with all age ranges to increase the awareness of what others are doing in their communities and break down the stigma of young people being useless.
Create opportunities – One Planet Pioneers is determined to better those who are engaged in the project and promote the work they do. Through means of volunteering activities and the apprenticeships programme the project is able to offer opportunities which may not be available elsewhere in Middlesbrough. Often used as a stepping stone many volunteers have been successful in securing an apprenticeship position through One Planet Pioneers.
Improve knowledge and skills – One Planet Pioneer’s offer training and opportunities for young people who get involved in the project with an emphasis on building and embedding team work, confidence, self esteem and resilience.
Princes Trust, Talent Match
Talent Match is a project funded by the Big Lottery Fund, designed to support 18 to 24-year-olds who have been out of work or training for over 12 months. Talent Match brings together a range of local organisations to help young people overcome the barriers they are facing and uses feedback from young people to help make decisions on delivery, marketing and events. Talent Match works with local and national employers, education providers and other charities to provide this support.
Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC) has been working closely with Middlesbrough Talent Match as a delivery partner for three years offering 12 month apprenticeship places. In this time MEC and Talent Match have been able to offer six individuals places on Local Environmental Service and Horticulture apprenticeships.
This has helped give each young person the opportunity to gain valuable skills, knowledge and experience in a sector which they have considered as a career for themselves. It not only has given them the specific skills and knowledge but embedded a work ethic, whilst also building confidence, self esteem and team working skills through both meeting and working with new people.
Stories from our Volunteers
18 year old Shannon relocated to Middlesbrough from North Yorkshire and had no qualifications. She wasn’t sure what to do but completed the Level 1 Peer Mentoring qualification at One Planet Pioneers. She now volunteers three days per week as a peer mentor, encouraging young people to take action for the environment. She is also training for her NVQ Level 2 Youth Work.
‘I’m enjoying getting involved with One Planet Pioneers and I’m feeling much more positive about the future. I had a lot of support when I first came to Middlesbrough and this is my opportunity to give something back.’