EYL Manchester: Reflections by Sami

"For me, the Emerging Young Leaders course was the recipe, we were the ingredients.."

-A reflection blog by one of our members in Manchester, following his completion of We Belong's Emerging Young Leaders programme

EYL is a CPD certified course by We Belong for young people, to help them develop their leadership skills that will assist them in the professional world. Its aim is for young people to understand their own strengths to make them better leaders. 

I signed up for the course this year because it seemed like a good way to develop my leadership skills and to gain confidence to be more assertive. 

I found it to be a short but fulfilling learning journey in a safe and welcoming environment. Special thanks to the workshop presenters Tania, Adam, and Tobi, for making the experience more fulfilling. They were inspiring leaders, mentors and role models throughout the course. 

The course itself, split into six sessions, covered a broad number of leadership subjects, such as vulnerability, confrontation and negotiation. We learned about leadership theories; each designed to stimulate ideas and develop us as individuals so that we can be better leaders in our personal and professional lives. 

The interactive sessions resulted in a plethora of ideas to engage with in personal development. I liked that the sessions were more personalised to our cohort. Throughout the course of the program, we developed connections and allowed ourselves to be free thinkers in a safe environment; free to project our thoughts and to embrace the deepest parts of what makes us who we are; enabling us to learn and grow into better leaders who feel confident in their ability to access opportunities. 

We assessed our strengths through the Clifton Strengths Finder tool, where each of us was given the opportunity to discover our core strengths and initiate a journey of self-discovery, something I understand a lot of young people struggle with. The programme is important to make us leaders of not only tomorrow; but also, of today. 

Through the safe environment of EYL, we were able to work on our personal narratives through the Story of Self technique. We were encouraged to learn how to use our emotion and vulnerability as vital communication tools to express our thoughts in an impactful way and a level of deep clarity to project power and strength. 

I love that the course celebrated vulnerability, as a strength as this is something that it vital in leadership development. Power was another topic we explored; it can be conflicting and feel unbalanced as it is a dynamic that I view as fragile and constantly shifting, but still another characteristic of leadership we need to hold. Lastly, confidence is something I learned to be a necessary trait to develop as a better leader. For me, the Emerging Young Leaders course was the recipe, we were the ingredients, and the growth of our leadership during the course and after, the cake. 

Words by

Sami Gichki
13 Apr 2023