Case study

Youth and families team leader — Lucy Hill

Lucy explains how work experience and a degree in youth work led to her job at the Sussex Community Development Association

How did you get your current job?

I started my career as a part-time youth worker and have received promotion opportunities as a direct result of doing a BA (Hons) degree in Youth Work at the University of Brighton.

What does a typical working day look like?

Every day is different. As I work in the voluntary sector, the focus of my role changes daily. I'm involved in the strategic planning of the Community Development Sector of Sussex Community Development Association and coordinate the funding, delivery and reporting of youth and family activities.

My role ranges from supporting the local youth participation forum to working in partnership with a multitude of local and national organisations.

What are the best parts of your job?

I enjoy learning from the young people that we work with - they are all individual and unique and bring with them different issues and experiences.

Youth workers need to be able to draw on a vast array of skills to work with young people, especially now that the title 'youth worker' has such a broad context.

What challenges do you face?

Measuring the impact of the benefits of youth work is a challenge for many organisations and the biggest challenge I face is sourcing new and innovative ways of monitoring and evaluating our youth services.

In what way is your degree relevant?

The degree has been highly relevant to my role as it has instilled reflective practice into my work with young people, provided knowledge and tools that are directly relevant to my work and has given me the opportunity to meet other practitioners who work in different sectors and share experiences with them.

I'm proud to be a Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) qualified professional youth worker and believe that it is an invaluable part of my career as a youth worker.

How has your role developed?

I have progressed in my organisation as a direct result of completing the degree. It has also acted as the stepping stone to further career opportunities and progressing on to a Masters degree.

Any tips for choosing a Masters?

There are many different choices for studying a Masters degree. I would recommend visiting different universities and the sectors that offer the kind of subjects you're interested in before making a choice.

What advice would you give to aspiring youth workers?

Youth workers come in many different guises at the moment, so you need to be clear on what kind of role you want to do when working with young people.

Volunteering at your local youth club or youth organisation can also lead to further opportunities.

Finally, you need to keep up to date on youth work developments by visiting the websites of organisations such as the National Youth Agency (NYA), British Youth Council, the Institute for Youth Work and UK Youth.

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