1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role was as a volunteer youth worker, which on a weekly basis would consist of interaction with different forms of youth groups. My main focus would be playing a supporting role with a group of young people aged between 13-25 that had learning differences. This would be split into two groups a 13-17 early group and a 18-25 later group.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have gained a lot of experience towards being able to interact and work with young people as well as those with learning differences. Through this programme and the NCS programme I was attached to during non-term time, I gained a qualification in Youth Work. This has enabled me to gain professional skills and personal skills to add to my curriculum virtae (CV).
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoyed the programme very much, the colleagues I worked were fantastic and very supportive of me being a part of the team. The young people I worked with saw me as a respectful member of staff and they interacted with me as if I had been a part of this project since it first began. It over met my expectations as by the end of the programme I was really sad to leave.
4. How valued do you feel by Youth Connexions?
I feel very appreciated within the local youth work team I was based in from the youth worker staff, the senior youth worker staff to the managerial side of the organisation who saw recognition in what I was doing with them. I was told to apply for a full-time position by the end of the programme, which I was stunned by, but unfortunately I had other plans (i.e. University) to prepare for.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme I was based within was very well organised, it started off with an induction to the role of a youth worker as well as being provided on the job training. The qualification I was studying towards throughout meant I had an away weekend to enhance my training further and the necessary support/meetings with my mentor if and when required to do so.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I received a high amount of support from both my team leader, my line manager and my mentor for the qualification I was working towards as part of this project. They were available to me whenever I needed them via email or work phone and they always had a positive attitude towards any problems I had.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I received a high amount of support from both my team leader, my line manager and my mentor for the qualification I was working towards as part of this project. They were available to me whenever I needed them via email or work phone and they always had a positive attitude towards any problems I had. This is because my employer was also the company who provided me with the training and role.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Whilst it was a voluntary work experience placement, if I had been working full-time on the paid package this would have met my daily living and travel costs quite efficiently as the salary would have been at least towards the minimum requirement for my age range at the time and as I also had also a part-time job to support me this enabled me to carry on with the experience.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes there are a huge amount of job opportunities outside of the workplace. Youth Work is a big sector that looks for active employment, which I was able to advance my likelihood of employment for the qualification I obtained. Different companies I was aware of after finishing my experience were hiring and I was offered a full-time position at the organisation I was with, but had to turn it down.
9. Would you recommend Youth Connexions to a friend?
If a friend wanted to gain some experience working with young people as a youth worker, then the organisation I worked for, Youth Connexions is a brilliant place to start. The local team I worked with were supportive and engaging with me from the start which made the experience easier and if you are successful enough, there may be an opportunity for employment afterwards.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Youth Connexions?
Be yourself, it is okay to be nervous but do not let this ruin your potential as a candidate. The application process is a simple one and the experiences and opportunities provided will be able to assist you in many different walks of life that can be invested towards a long-term career if that is what you wish.