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Signposts 500

 

Fr David O'Malley SDB explores the complexities of life choices for young adults in an overview of the Salesians' Signposts programme and its aims, published in Don Bosco Today, the UK edition of the Salesian Bulletin.

The facts and stories in this article point to a growing need among young adults to look beyond career and wages to find meaning in their lives and to be happy in what they do. The complexity of choice and the short-term nature of commitments bewilders many young adults. Sometimes they act impulsively, reacting against parental advice and then regret it later. Sometimes they unconsciously do what friends and family want and lose that individual spark that is called vocation.

 

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The Salesians’ Signposts programme was invited to present at a high-profile careers event in London earlier this month. Anita Morais and Fr David O'Malley SDB were the guests of Heythrop College at their final Careers Dinner, hosted at the historic Drapers' Hall, in the heart of the City.

Anita and David were able to present the purpose and approach of Signposts to a wide range of students and professionals in the careers development departments of the University of London.

The Signposts team was invited specifically to address those students who were struggling to find a sense of direction as they came to the end of their degree courses to offer ongoing help to those still searching for their best next step. They outlined the content of the workshops and weekend experiences, took questions from career professionals and dealt with enquiries from students.

The Careers Dinner has been an annual event for Heythrop College, and aims to enable students - final year undergraduates in the main – to meet and network with a range of professionals in order to learn more about the sector they represent, with the possibility of having work experience and/or internships.

The keynote speaker was Professor Graham Zellick CBE QC (Barrister and Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple; former Vice Chancellor, University of London). Other professionals attending included Jane Leek, Regional Director of Porticus UK, Tamsin Eastwood Consultant at Stone King (Lawyers) and Chair of Heythrop Governors, and Brendan Walsh, Literary Editor of The Tablet.

The very special venue for the final Careers Dinner was arranged by the kindness of one of the Heythrop Governors, Jane Makower Mather, who is a Trustee of the Drapers’ Guild. The Drapers’ Company is over 600 years old and is established by royal charter initially as guild of professional drapers and has now developed into a major philanthropic company. Its location at the centre of the City of London reflects its long history and the wealth that it now shares with many needy causes.

The event was a great success, and the Signposts team is pleased that the London University Careers Service has expressed a strong interest in enabling their workshops to run in a number of different settings.

The development of one to one guidance is still going on for Signposts but progress so far includes the development of a team of workshop leaders, a revised weekend programme and a growing network of contacts in universities and across many church organisations. The project continues to raise its profile in the south of England and will soon be developing networks in other parts of the country.

The next Signposts weekend will take place on April  22-23rd in Savio House and further workshops and training are taking place during lent and Easter.

If you want to know more about Signposts visit the website www.signposts.uk.net

Photos: Anthony Kelly

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Signposts, a new Salesian programme, aims to support young adults (aged ​​18-35) in finding their path in life, and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to make good choices. Weekend workshops to equip young adults with valuable decision-making skills will be held on 20-22 January and 21-23 April 2017, at Savio House, Cheshire.

 

In choosing 'Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment' as the theme of the next Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis has highlighted the importance of supporting young people as they find the path God is calling them to, and that's just what Signposts does. It is a programme for young adults who have some life experience but are facing a time of major choice, sometimes without any sense of overall direction. It is for people who want to meet life as an adventure but also want to stack the odds in their favour through wise decisions.

 

The one-off resdiential weekend offers a solid groundwork for good decision-making, where young adults are able to explore their personal decision-making process in depth. The weekend takes participants through a series of thinking modes that move towards identifying meaning and purpose in life. It also provides a toolkit for choice based on sound psychology and some insights from the eastern and western spiritual traditions. 

 

The residential weekend is one of three elements offered by Signposts, and people can take part in all of them, or choose those they feel best meet their needs. The team offers an introductory workshop of a couple of hours, which can be offered to existing young adult groups. This outlines the project and engages everyone in activities exploring how we make meaningful choices. Some people may have enough to take away with them from this single session, but the Signposts team hopes many will take up their invitation to a residential weekend, where they will be able to explore their personal decision-making process more deeply. After the residential weekend, participants may choose to take part in the third element, six months of individual guidance.

 

The Signposts residential weekend costs £40, and concessions are available. If you would be interested in booking onto the January or April weekend, or in learning more about what the Signposts programme offers, or if you would like to arrange an introductory workshop for your young adult group, please contact Anita Motha on 0207 139 8353 or email development@signposts.uk.net

 

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