A new e-learning programme designed to support young people to develop their skills as peer health mentors has been launched by RSPH, in partnership with seven other organisations across Europe. The e-learning has been developed as part of the European Youth Health Champions project, funded by Erasmus+

As part of the project, RSPH has worked with partners in the UK, Denmark, Malta, Italy, Belgium and Bulgaria to carry out a survey of young people from across Europe, asking for their views on what they consider to be the most effective methods of health education. This report identified that young people saw peer-to-peer education as a key method for building knowledge around health and wellbeing issues. 

This research was used to establish a competency framework, setting out the core skills, behaviours and knowledge that underpin effective peer education. The final stage of the project has been the development of a free-access e-learning programme, supporting young people to develop the attributes included in the competency framework. This builds upon the approach utilised by RSPH in the Level 2 Award for Young Health Champions, which focuses on providing young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to act as peer health mentors. 

The research, design and testing of the training has been supported by over 240 young people at a number of events across Europe. It has also been reviewed by over 260 stakeholders who have attended multiplier events in six countries.

Kiran Kenth, Director of National and Regional Programmes for RSPH said: “The European Youth Health Champions project has been an excellent example of a collaborative approach to designing health education interventions for young people, based on the evidenced views of young people themselves. They have been at the heart of this project, from guiding our initial research to testing the e-learning programme we are launching today.

We know from the delivery of our Level 2 Young Health Champions programme in the UK that peer-to-peer mentoring is an effective form of support around health and wellbeing for young people, especially on issues that could be considered to be sensitive. We look forward to the European Youth Health Champions programme supporting the development of this support network across Europe.”