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Introducing our new School Service Leaders

Back in April, we welcomed 4 new Student Support Leaders (SSL) to City Year UK, who are serving in our partner schools in Manchester. We wanted to introduce them by providing a short window into who they are and how they’ve got on at City Year UK so far…

The arrival of the SSLs to City Year UK comes as wonderful and exciting new additions to our team. All of the SSLs join our organisation as part of the UK Year of Service Programme, which was recently launched by NCS. The introduction of the SSLs not only helps strengthen the support we’re able to provide our mentors but they also add an invigorating and dynamic approach to the social and emotional support we offer in schools.

From the outset, our new 4 SSLs (Fraya, Katrina, Lucia, and Mahia), have hit the ground running with their shining enthusiasm and determination, In their first two weeks of training they were quick to grasp the leadership ethos that’s deeply embedded in City Year UK culture. Further yet, we were ecstatic to see how well they bonded and collaborated as a team; in working together they demonstrated a wonderful cooperative spirit that we feel is fundamental to our ideas of utilising collective action to make a difference. Safe to say we’re excited to see what the future holds with our SSLs and to witness the positive impact they’re able to make on both our mentors and also the young people they support in schools.



It’s great to read and hear positive messages from us about the SSLs, but we also wanted to paint a vivid picture of their wonderful characters. There’s no better way to do so than to hear directly from them. So, we caught up with two of our SSLs, Lucia and Katrina, and asked them a few questions about their aspirations, perspectives, and what they hope to achieve throughout their time at City Year UK. Check out their responses below!



1) What skills are you hoping to develop through City Year?

Throughout my time at City Year, I am hoping to develop my leadership skills further, specifically, the confidence to take on leadership roles in the future, along with gaining experience within a charity, providing me with more of an understanding of working within a charity and the non-profit sector.

2) How do you want to make a difference and an impact on the young people you work with?

I think that social and emotional development within young people is such an important aspect of their learning and development. I am looking forward to working with my own focus list students to support them, even if to the students I am just someone for them to talk to.

3) What is something that surprised you within your first few weeks at City Year UK?

Over the past week being shown around by the City Year UK team in my school, I am surprised by the amount of trust the focus list students have towards the City Year mentors compared to the other staff members in school. From what I have seen within lessons, I think the students generally respond more positively and are more productive when supported by a mentor. Even for myself just wearing the City Year red jacket in lessons this week, although the students don’t know me yet it’s like they’re halfway there because I am part of the school’s city year team.


On joining City Year as an SSL

It’s been around 3 weeks since I joined City Year UK and it’s been such an exciting experience already. Everyone we’ve met has been so welcoming, from IT to the mentors and I’m excited to see myself grow throughout the year alongside the other SSLs.

1) What skills are you hoping to develop through City Year?

During this year I’m hoping to develop a lot of personal and professional skills to better my life, both in and out of the workplace. I’m hoping to work on my professionalism and find new confidence in work, as well as gain experience with supporting children’s emotional and social development.

2) How do you want to make a difference and an impact on the young people you work with?

I’d love to make some positive and impactful relationships during my year of service with all the students, school staff and City Year UK team. Hopefully by making lessons noticeably easier for teachers, helping my team in school in any way I can, and most importantly being a support branch for my key students, by supporting and encouraging them emotionally and academically.

3) What is something that surprised you within your first few weeks at City Year UK?

Already in my first 2 weeks, I’ve seen myself stepping out of my comfort zone, speaking in front of groups and to lots of new people which I would never have seen happening so fast. I also think it’s interesting to see how everything we do with City Year is smartly planned and intentional to develop a specific skill and how what we focus on can be reinstalled into any aspect of your life.


Katrina and Fraya both exude a level of passion that’s essential to making an impact on the lives of young people. Through their answers, they also show a strong willingness to grow and develop themselves, which is a huge aspect of the UK Year of Service programme, which helps make our SSL role possible. The UK Year or Service programme is designed to help young people furthest from the labour market into employment. Therefore it’s important to us that all of our SSLs have the reassurance and hunger that this personal and professional development is both possible and attainable. While they’re at the beginning of their journeys, it’s clear that they have this desire and that they are well on their way to achieving big things and making a difference with City Year UK.

Click here to read more about our partnership with NCS and the UK Year of Service programme.

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