Case study

Reflection centre manager — Joshua Roberts

Joshua recommends a career in family support to those who are passionate about making a difference. Find out what skills and qualities you'll need to follow in his footsteps

How did you get your job?

I graduated from Leeds Trinity University with a BA in Working with Children, Young People and Families, and recently completed an MA in Family Support (also at Leeds Trinity).

I initially found out about The Works Education, a charity working with young people, through a friend and was interested in getting involved. I stated my aspirations and course of study at university and got a job working in alternative provision via an interview.

Through hard work and professional development in both my academic studies and practice, I've since then progressed into a senior leadership position within the organisation.

What's a typical working day like?

We work with young people who display challenging behaviour and come from dysfunctional backgrounds, therefore we don't know what to expect day to day. We help young people make positive choices through offering restorative practice and using workshops in areas such as drug abuse, crime, bullying and sex education.

What do you enjoy most about working in family support?

I enjoy helping young people become accountable for their actions and make positive choices to fulfil their potential. I've met some fantastic characters, in terms of both the team and the young people I work with.

What are the challenges?

The behaviour displayed by the young people can be very challenging. Being resilient is important, as is supporting your team to provide the best support possible.

How is your degree relevant?

During my degree I gained an understanding of why young people can display challenging behaviour and how they've developed socially and have poor emotional well-being. This knowledge is essential to my current role.

How has your role developed? What are your career ambitions?

I was a tutor prior to my Masters degree and now I've become a manager. I'm hoping to expand the organisation to incorporate a level of family support to provide a holistic support programme.

How useful is your Masters degree?

It was extremely beneficial in developing not only my academic abilities, but my professional abilities too. My knowledge and skills have developed through graduating with a Masters degree.

What's your advice for others interested in a career in family support?

  • You have to be resilient due to the nature of the people you're working with.
  • The role is tough and demanding but it's an extremely rewarding occupation.
  • Be committed to positively impacting young people's lives and have fun.

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