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									                                    Youth work essentials:

              7                     Portfolio-building
                                    Practical advice on youth work basics

                     ortfolios are now established as      its strength; young people can choose
                     having a key role in the
                     accreditation of learning in any
                                                           what goes in the portfolio and how it
                                                           looks. This also means that young people      TEAMtalk
              setting. All UK Youth’s accredited           can have greater ownership of the             s How can we interest and support
              programmes use portfolios as the main        learning process. However, having such a      young people in portfolio-building?
              means of evidencing learning. The Youth      wide range of choices can also cause
                                                                                                         s Do we have the resources to design
              Achievement Awards (YAA) offer an            anxiety for young people – and the adults     our own proformas for recording
              example of how portfolios can be built.      who support them.                             activities?
                 The experience of building a portfolio
              can have long-lasting benefits; many         What’s the problem?                           s What materials and resources do
              young people take their YAA portfolios       For many adults, the idea of a young          we need to use in creating quality
                                                                                                         portfolios? Where and how can we
              to college and job interviews, as a way of   person putting together a portfolio can
                                                                                                         get them?
              showing what they can do. Furthermore,       seem daunting. Many worry about what
              portfolios are a requirement for most        needs to go in a portfolio, how long it       s Do we need any additional training
              NVQs so, if they choose to go on to take     might take and whether it might make          input?
              NVQs, anyone who has a Youth                 youth work become a bit like school
              Achievement Award will have the added        work. But it’s important to remember
              confidence of knowing what is required       that, for young people, the idea of a
              of them.                                     portfolio is not new. Nowadays they are       evidence for the portfolio as you go along
                 In order to qualify for a Youth           quite used to the idea of building a          – rather than waiting until the Challenge
              Achievement Award, each young person         portfolio and it may be less of a             is over and relying on memory. The two
              must submit a portfolio. The portfolio       challenge for them than the youth             most important tips I’d give are, first of
              should be an "organised collection of        worker. The trick is in making the            all, to design and print proformas to help
              evidence that illustrates what the young     process as easy – and as much fun – as        young people record quickly at the end
              person has achieved and how they have        possible.                                     of a session – I’m a great believer in
              met their targets whilst completing their       "There are a few points we emphasise       avoiding the use of blank sheets of paper
              challenges". Ideally a portfolio should      to workers in our Introductory Training       for recording; secondly, I’d recommend
              contain evidence that is naturally           and in the Portfolio-building training that   holding occasional ‘pizza (or pancake or
              generated by the young person’s              we offer", says UK Youth Accredited           whatever!) nights’, where everyone gets
              involvement in activities.                   Learning Development Officer, Julie           together to have a good socialising
                 The portfolio approach’s flexibility is   Smith. "It’s vital to keep collecting         session, while they put together their
                                                                                                         portfolios." [See box for some sample
               Recording sheets                                                                              "There’s no point in dodging the issue
                                                                                                         – in order to receive a Youth
                 Some sample for recording evidence are included on the UK Youth website.                Achievement Award, every young person
                                                                                                         has to submit a portfolio. The job has to
                                                                                                         be done and it’s important that the
                                                                                                         worker is both positive and relaxed
                                                                                                         about it. I say to young people that
                                                                                                         portfolio-building is a bit like putting
                                                                                                         together a holiday scrapbook: it’s
                                                                                                         something that adds to the pleasure of
Autumn 2005

                                                                                                         the activity, because you can go back to it
                                                                                                         time and time again and share those
                                                                                                         memories. Too often, in ‘real life’, we
                                                                                                         regret not taking that bit of time out to

                                                                                                         put those photos and memories together
                                                                                                         – but we love going back over our old
                                                                                                         photo albums when we have them. A
portfolio is a way of making the most of       has to tell the story of their learning.      Things to avoid
the Challenges you’ve undertaken. In a            "I think it’s important for workers to     The essential principle to remember is
way, the hard work has been done and           provide good quality materials to make        that the portfolio should reflect the
this is the icing on the cake."                up the portfolio," says Julie Smith. "Use     experience and learning of the individual
                                               a good, new and strong folder – not           young person. "This means never
Keep it personal                               some second-hand file that’s all bent up,     building a portfolio for a young person,"
A portfolio should tell the story of the       with someone else’s graffiti on it. Prepare   says Julie, "they must have ownership of

Challenges and the young person’s own          for portfolio-building sessions by getting    the process and the product."
learning. ‘Personalisation’ is the key.        in decent equipment – scissors, glue,            Julie’s final tip is important: "Don’t let
Whilst pre-printed sheets and group            wallets, card etc. – so the young people      the portfolio-building be a burden – don’t
handouts are acceptable as evidence, they      can put together a quality portfolio and      go on about it all the time. It should add
are best when they are personalised in         feel good about it.                                                  continued on page 28
some way to explain their relevance to
the individual. This could be through
adding ‘post-it’ notes, with personal           Support role
                                                                                                                                             ACCREDITATION SPECIAL

comments, or highlighting relevant
                                                A young person will need appropriate support from a worker. Key areas for
points – "this was the bit I liked best", "I
                                                support include:
joined in with this bit" or whatever.
                                                s Briefing: it is the worker’s responsibility, at the beginning of the process, to
When evidencing challenges it is
                                                ensure that young people have a clear understanding of the purpose of the
important to try and be selective. It is the
                                                portfolio, how it fits into the accreditation process and who will need to see it.
quality of evidence that counts, not the
                                                s Reflection: throughout the process of portfolio-building, workers can
                                                encourage young people to learn to reflect on their experiences and how they
   Visual evidence, such as photographs,
                                                can get that across in their portfolio.
pictures, drawings, illustrations or objects
                                                s Evidence gathering: ensure that this is an ongoing process, not something that
are really valuable – so, keep a camera

                                                is continually postponed. If the process is left, they may feel daunted by the task
with you at all times! Photos will bring
                                                and become de-motivated.
things to life, but remember that they will
                                                s Safe-keeping: the portfolio belongs to the individual and it is up to them
                                                                                                                                                        Autumn 2005

probably need some explanation (e.g.
                                                where they choose to keep it while they are building it. However, if young
captions) to show why they have been
                                                people are including personal information of a personal nature in their portfolio,
included and how they relate to the
                                                they may want it to be stored in a safe place.
Challenge. You’re not just putting
together a scrapbook; the young person
              continued from page 27
              to the experience, not take away from it.
              For me, this means making it easy to do
              quick recordings during or after a session
                                                            What goes in?
              or experience. Then organising                A summary of what might go in a portfolio
              occasional, maybe once a month, ‘get-
              togethers’, where everybody can spend
              time on their portfolio (with pizza and        EVIDENCE that shows          Produced by the         Collected by the      Produced by
              conversation!). If you bring out the           that the young person:       young person            young person          others
              portfolios every session, people can lose
              their motivation and you lose a bit of the     Was involved in the         •   Photographs         • Consent forms       • Youth Worker
              magic of informal learning."                   activity                    •   Video recording     • Receipts              observations
                                                                                         •   Tape recording      • Leaflets            • Witness
                                                                                         •   Statements          • Booklets              observations
              Presenting a portfolio                                                     •   Drawings            • Travel tickets      • Employer
              One advantage of the concept of the                                        •   Questionnaires      • Events tickets        observations
              portfolio is that it does not rely on                                      •   Letters             • Flyers              • Family
              traditional forms of presentation.                                         •   E-mails             • Maps                  observations
                                                                                         •   Phone Records       • Course notes        • Peer
              People can use styles and formats that                                                             • Research              observations
                                                                                         •   Plans
              they are used to and which are accessible                                  •   Designs             • Newspaper
              to them.                                                                   •   Posters               cuttings
                  The Youth Achievement Awards are                                       •   Memos               • Certificates
              designed to be fully accessible to all                                     •   Notices
                                                                                         •   Posters
              young people. With the right level of
                                                                                         •   Diary
              support all young people can achieve an                                    •   Scripts
              Award. There are no literacy
                                                             Worked towards their        • Questionnaires        • Certificates        • Witness
              requirements within the Youth
                                                             targets                     • Review Forms          • Test results          observations
              Achievement Award programme. As long                                       • Evaluation Forms                            • Peer
              as the evidence can be attributed to the                                   • Feedback                                      observations
              young person (by counter signature or                                        sessions                                    • Attendance
              witness statement, for example,) it will be                                • Diary                                         records
                                                                                         • Log book
              acceptable. Regardless of the format
                                                                                         • Timelines
              used, the criteria for successful
              completion of the Awards are the same          Took the appropriate        •   Role descriptions   • Minutes of          • Witness
              for all young people.                          amount of responsibility    •   Work plans            Meetings              observations
                                                                                         •   Task sheets                               • Attendance
                  Young people can gather and present
                                                                                         •   Diary                                       records
              evidence showing what they have done to                                    •   Log book
              complete their Challenge in a number of
              ways (see 'Examples of Portfolio               Spent the minimum time      • Diary                 • Records of          • Witness
                                                             needed on each              • Log book                attendance            statements
              Evidence' box). Young people might use
                                                             challenge                   • Time sheet            • Signing In sheets   • Attendance
              audio/video tape to present evidence                                                                                       records
              either verbally or through signing.
              Alternatively, they might word process         Completed the               • Award booklet         • Challenge           • Witness
              their responses or use pictures and/or         appropriate number                                    certificates          statements
              symbols.                                       of challenges
                  The key factor is that the young
              person’s portfolio, however it is produced
              or presented, demonstrates that they have
              completed the challenges to the standard       TOOLbox                                                 Resources on portfolio-building
              required and is presented in an organised
              way.                                           Agencies
                  Most portfolios come in paper format       For more about the Youth Achievement Awards, contact UK Youth.
              in folders, but Julie sees that, as people
              gain confidence with the idea, they are
                                                             The UK Youth website includes some sample ideas for planning and recording
              finding new ways of presenting their
                                                             Challenges in the Operators Toolbox within the Youth Achievement Awards area of the
              portfolios. "I’ve seen people present their    site: www.ukyouth.org/yaa
              portfolio as a poster that opened up and
              I’ve seen one produced on a roll of            Publications
Autumn 2005

              wallpaper that told the story as you           The Portfolio Building Tool Kit includes various worksheets in different formats
                                                             designed to assist portfolio building. Available, price £11 from UK Youth.
              unrolled it. People have done things on
              video and audio, but it’s not                  Training
              common….yet!"                                  Input on portfolio-building is included within the Introductory Training to the Youth

                  Article by Alan Rogers, editor of UK       Achievement Awards. UK Youth also offers half-day training programmes in effective
              Youth magazine, with thanks to Julie           portfolio building. Contact UK Youth for details of the next courses.

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