One Planet Pioneers empowered disadvantaged young people in environmental sustainability using volunteering, training, apprenticeships employment and entrepreneurial-ship opportunities. Through this training and accredited awards, One Planet Pioneers were developed in leadership, advocacy and decision making as well as practical environmental knowledge.
The project positively impacted the lives of more than 3,000 young people through engaging, experiencing, and being taught valuable Green Sector skills.
The project provided 24 apprenticeships based at Middlesbrough Environment City and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, 5 Kick Start work experience opportunities and 22 peer mentor opportunities. Shannon was one of these young people, you can read her story here.
The project also provided careers advice, support and training to its apprentices, kick starters and trainees to further their personal professional development. Examples include learning how to create a CV, how to write covering letters for specific posts and how to conduct job searches and register with job sites etc. All young people who have had continued involvement with the project have been kept up to date with any vacancies that have become available from project partners and related networks. This has subsequently seen more than five young people into further employment.
Project participants were asked to complete a short longitudinal survey which found that:
  • 85% of participants said the project had improved their health and wellbeing
  • 85% of participants said the project had improved their communication skills
  • 60% of participants said the project had improved their self-esteem
  • 87% of participants said the project had improved their confidence
Young people were involved in improving five nature reserves (totalling 188 hectares). Other sites improved for nature and wildlife benefit included sections along the River Tees, Linthorpe Cemetery, Bluebell Beck, Mealor’s Wood and Stainton Village improving around another 2 hectares of area for wildlife. The project has also improved or created: 7 community gardens, 6 allotments, 6 community orchards and 8 school growing spaces.
The project was successful in establishing a Youth Panel that was attended by many young people throughout the duration of the project, providing them with the opportunity to have their voice heard and make positive change. Some young people who attended the panel also had the chance to attend national events, giving them a chance to visit other Our Bright Future Projects and boost their confidence.