Tom studied a degree in youth and community work with applied theology at The Centre for Youth Ministry, Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He currently works as a youth worker and Duke of Edinburgh coordinator.
I got my current role because a person I knew made me aware of the position and sent me an application pack, so I could apply for the role once I had finished my degree. I applied, had an interview, and was offered the job.
My course was very relevant to securing my current position as youth work has taken steps to become more professional, the standard of training expected has risen and without a professional qualification it is a difficult profession to get into.
What I do on a typical day all depends on what projects we have going at the time. Due to the feedback we receive from our young people through our young leaders, we are constantly remodelling the way we do youth work to keep it fresh and engaging for the young people. Since joining, my role has developed because the centre I work at has started to deliver level 3 youth work NVQs, so I have undertaken further training to qualify as an assessor to assist in delivering these qualifications.
I enjoy the challenge of working in inner-city London as this brings different encounters and challenges compared with anywhere I have worked before. Working with young people can be hard work at times but through this you get massive rewards. The most challenging parts of my job include dealing with a high level of crime, NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people, as well as disillusioned young people.
The best thing about working in this sector is the reward of seeing young people achieve their best. Youth work is a hard profession to pursue, but it has masses of rewards to it. I’m not sure what advice I can give to anyone who is thinking about this as a career as no two youth work jobs are the same, but I think I would say to just enjoy it.
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