I have always been fascinated by youth work and how young people respond to youth workers. This fascination is part born out of curiosity and part down to the warm relationship I had with my youth worker who was indirectly my mentor. He was someone I was close with and always felt comfortable with, together we would freely discuss life, its up's and down's.
As a hockey player I was very good but academically I was not performing and so my mentor would find ways to encourage me and his persistence is what drives me to peruse a career in Youth, Community and Social Work.
I have worked in different organisation in the borough; each one has had some from of contact with young people. I have worked with the NIDA trust and their main function is to organise educational trips, residentials, club based activities and homework support classes. Currently I have been appointed as a pool youth worker for the LBTH Council Youth Community Service, Rapid Response Team. This particular role will involve working with very challenging young people who are involved in gang and territorial conflict. I will use my communication, networking, negotiation and teamwork skills to support young people with one to one, group activities as well as taking young people through accredited and learning outcomes.
The National Occupational Standards (NOS), which is governed by the National Youth Agency (NYA), are keen to move away from the pool and table tennis era of youth work to a more educational one that has purpose and encourages youth workers to record learning outcomes and get young people to gain more accreditation. The government Every Child Matters (ECM) green paper has further strengthened the youth work agenda, which stipulates a more structured way of working. The recent RESPECT agenda by the government will want to see young people toeing the line even more and a lot more ASBO's and ABC's will be issued creating a raft of problems.
I am aware of the equal opportunity agenda, and am fully committed to anti-discriminatory practice. I have had very bad experiences of racism within the work place, this is unacceptable but there will always be people who will want to discriminate and it is happening in the work place even whilst I write this statement. What will make a difference is to create individuals who are determined to stamp out discrimination and have polices in place to support create a level playing field.
I have always worked under pressure and within deadlines but the YCSW course developing this skill in me further. I can use IT effectively for research on the Internet as well as for other purposes i.e. buying and selling on line etc.
I have always been willing to learn and develop my skills and one that really has benefited me is the reflective practice that I am learning. This skill makes me ponder on my mistakes, as I believe mistakes are my life experiences from which I learn the most.
I believe that by completing a degree in Youth and Community Work, I will have achieved my childhood dream. This will assist my progression into full-time employment and a means to supporting young people. I will act as a role modal for many young people in the community who are trapped in a vicious cycle of crime and poverty.