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Our NEETs project in Merseyside

Clean Language Peer Coaching and Mentoring project in Merseyside
After 4 years our Clean Language Peer Coaching and Mentoring project has come to an end. It's time to celebrate the progress our young people have made. They chose the picnic food and games, shared their experiences and ambitions for the future. We could not be prouder of these young people.

Two years on and we’ve come to the end of a big Clean project in Merseyside. Working with over 140 young people across the borough who for many different reasons were Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET). The project comprises a huge amount of driving around estates trying to make contact. Clean Language interviewing on the doorstep, making contact with the young person and their families/carers and sometimes their friends and partners too, building cleanly a model of their current situation; what’s working well, what’s not working so well and of course – what would they like to have happen.


From there we work 1-1 or in small cohorts teaching clean language coaching and systemic modelling so that the young people are effectively working together as peer coaches. Skills from cooking to socialising to being able to use public transport to Magical Spelling, to writing at all to writing a CV to applying for and getting jobs or college courses. Being a Clean project the team were of course, responsive to what these specific young people needed and wanted.


Over the 4 years we’ve been working with the borough, the NEET population has reduced from over 11% to under 5% and we work with them in their last year of compulsory education as well as 16+. Many of the young people who attend one cohort stay on and help out on others and become very capable volunteer coaches.


Our methodology works just as effectively with the anxious, the violent, those with mild to moderate mental health issues as well as neuro-diversity. It’s highly effective and takes careful training – people who come into this client group with their own strong agenda, expectations or desire to help can end up creating defence and attack instead – we need people trained in Clean Language Interviewing, Symbolic & Systemic Modelling.


For details of our training courses to acquire the skills of Clean Interviewing, Clean Coaching and Systemc Modelling visist our events page

Contact caitlin@trainingattention.co.uk to discuss replicating or adapting this project for your area.

About Caitlin Walker

Caitlin Walker's avatar

Caitlin is a director of Clean Learning and the developer of Systemic Modelling™. She is the author of From Contempt to Curiosity, which details many of the innovative and transformational projects she’s led across our community from the most dispossessed to leading think tanks.

Caitlin graduated in Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies and completed four years post graduate research in ‘Strategies for Lexical access’ including fieldwork in Ghana. She began modelling teaching and learning while at SOAS, volunteering intermediary classes to translate information presented at lectures into different learning styles for the students. At the same time she was a youth worker in Kings Cross bringing these leading edge tools to groups of young people.

She went on to set up literacy clubs in King’s Cross, where children could come to learn to spell. From 1996 – 1999 Caitlin was an Education tutor with the Dalston Youth Project, a Home Office run experiment to offer accelerated learning to at-risk students, alongside mentoring, to keep them in school. She ran these sessions as NLP modelling workshops and achieved excellent results with the students. The project won a Crime Prevention and Community Safety award for Great Britain. In 1999 she was offered the opportunity to develop her work in a business context and she created the ground breaking metaphors@work process. These techniques are available on the Creative Management section of the Open University MBA program and on a 10 week modular course on Practical Thinking. She has co-designed and she co-delivers a Masters Level module in Coaching and Mentoring at Liverpool John Moores University.

She has since developed her modelling skills from small scale group development to whole scale organisational culture change programmes. She designs and delivers tailor made learning and development programs for addressing diversity, conflict, leadership, managing mergers and creating ‘learning organisations’.

Caitlin practices in a variety of contexts. Clients include: Jeyes Group, Liverpool John Moores University, Pharmacia, Hull City Council, South Yorkshire Police Service, Bexley Care Trust, New Information Paradigms, Work Directions UK, Crime Concern, BT, Police National Search Centre, Celerent Consultancy, Carbon Partners, Ealing LEA, and Working Links. She has trained a number of in-house trainers to carry on and develop the work without creating dependency on her expertise. She has systematically tested and developed her ideas in challenging arenas and her robust products have become sought after learning aids.

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