Nearly 20 people attended the pilot of Experience Exchange, St John’s Hoxton’s exciting new employability and mentoring scheme on Saturday 24 April. 

Aimed at young people aged 16-24 and the wider community, the scheme seeks to help provide people with the opportunity to develop an array of skills, improve employability prospects, and match ambition and aspiration with the experience and knowledge of community members. 

At the launch, elements of programme – employability skills and confidence, diversity, inclusion and belonging, how to become your own superhero, and the importance of budgeting skills – were explored. 

David Nye and Jessica Agboola introducing the project

David Nye, Experience Exchange Co-Coordinator and St John’s Hoxton Youth Outreach Worker said: “The pilot was a huge success. This project has been months in the making and I’m so pleased that the team got to showcase the project to the Hoxton community. I’m really excited about helping people, especially young people, reach their goals and dreams.”

Guest speakers and members of the team included: Stephen Millar, Fiona Hollow, Rob Adediran, Morag Correa, Bosede Owa, and Jessica Agboola. Sessions were delivered exploring 'Employability & Confidence', 'Budgeting', and 'Navigating Difference: Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging'.

Experience Exchange is an eight-week programme which will be delivered through eight sessions and links in with St John’s’ community organising work, in partnership with Hackney Citizens and Citizens UK, and the theory that community organising principles and processes can lead to church growth. St John’s Hoxton believes that working for the common good locally are all in line with the biblical mandate to love our neighbour (Luke 10:27) and to seek the welfare of the city where God has placed us (Jeremiah 29:7).

During the pandemic, the church launched its ‘Organising for Growth’ project and asked its members with a particular concern for growth and development to come together to form three ‘action teams’ in three areas: outreach (missional), engagement (numerical) and depth (spiritual). 

The outreach action team identified a need in the community for employment opportunity support and, through Experience Exchange, aim to meet that need and in the process, develop more connections with other community groups and organisations in the neighbourhood.

“It’s been such a positive experience being part of the Organising for Growth outreach team and seeing an idea take physical shape. The feedback we received was really positive and encouraging,” continued David. “The team and I look forward to delivering the project in full and really hope, as the feedback suggests it will, benefit individuals and the community.”  

Find out more about St John’s Hoxton’s community organising work here.