Briefly explain what “engagement” is and show some examples of engaging projects. YouTube has a lot of examples of this, including The Fun Theory, but try and mention some of your company’s projects too if you can. Ask the young people what they thought about each project; what makes them engaging? Which bits did they like?
Introduce the project that the young people will be working on, explain its objectives and the background of the project. Why has the project come about? Also explain the aims of the project. What are you trying to achieve?
Think of a project you have that involves engaging with the public, for example you might have a survey that need answering. The young people will then have the morning to plan an engaging way of asking these questions, and then spend the afternoon going out in public to collect the answers. Another example could be collecting Vox Pops on a certain subject.
They are not allowed to simply ask the questions like a normal survey, but must think of something inventive and eye-catching. This is a good way for the young people to try a real project and also for you to collect any data you may need from the public.
Give the young people the list of questions and allow them some time to plan their ideas (in groups depending on the number of young people). This should take no more than half an hour. Provide them with art supplies and then allow them until lunch to set up. Provide help where you can but try to let them lead.
Break for lunch.
Provide the young people with the tools that may be required to collect the data; this could be pens and paper, cameras or voice recorders. Set them a time limit in order to get their answers but make sure to leave an hour afterwards so that they can feed back their results. You can choose to go with the young people as they ask their questions but leaving them to achieve it on their own will give them a greater sense of it being “their own project”.
When the young people have come back, allow them to report back the answers they received. When they have presented their data, give them some time to talk about how they feel it went and what they would do better next time.
BONUS: If you have time, allow the young people to create something simple with the documentation they have gathered. If they took photographs, perhaps make a montage with a voiceover explaining the project. This could then be used as an example of engagement for the future.