Youth? Work? Who’d really want to work with the youth of today? Who seriously chooses youth work? It seems that through some unconscious decision I stumbled upon this life, or to be more precise, it found me.
Having been active within the voluntary sector for 15 (ahem!) years now, and held the usual jobs at college, where the term ‘youth work’ was more like a caveman’s way of telling you to complete assignments, not an actual career choice, I honestly felt my life would follow its qualification and within no time I’d be the star of a national radio station. Typically, as we were told at the start of the course, ‘virtually none of you will end up working in media’, and so it came to be that my voluntary work eventually gave way to paid employment in various capacities working with young people.
I say working with, but until I decided to embark on a degree, I was very much working around young people. About six years ago, one of those lightbulb moments came. Admittedly it was one of those energy-saving ones that was a bit sluggish to finally light my brain, but finally the Open University beckoned, and so did my ‘calling’ to be a Youth Worker.
It doesn’t quite feel as though I chose to become one, more that it came and found me, but I am so grateful it did. I have worked with a diverse and wonderful bunch of children and young people and there is so much more to the job than simply wearing a hoodie and standing in the corner of a youth club dishing out the tuck shop.
In the past year my research has focused strongly on stress-reduction and mental health issues within the education sector and I hope that in the coming years I can put my developing knowledge to support young people in better managing and enjoying the best of years of their lives.