Getting to know me...
In addition to academic qualifications, I am a qualified and experienced youth worker and community development
professional. I have a wide range of experience of formal and informal learning, including developing and managing a regional Advanced Apprenticeship Scheme in Integrated Youth Support Services (IYSS), a National Environmental Youth
Volunteering Programme and regional work on improving young people’s participation. This has involved supporting and teaching children, young people and adults, with subjects ranging from mental health and well-being, peer education for teenage
parents, safeguarding/child protection, participation, equality and diversity.
I have worked closely with local authorities across the Midlands (East and West) and with a wide range of local, regional and national organisations within the voluntary and community sector. I used to describe myself as an accidental youth worker: after graduating I wanted to educate and inspire others about the natural environment, to share my enthusiasm and sense of wonderment. I began working with young children, families and adults, then realised that young people were being inadvertently excluded by not offering opportunities that were accessible, relevant or attractive to them. I resolved to change this, and secured funding to develop an innovative project for young people. I subsequently chose to train as a professional youth/community worker, as the transferable skills and qualities developed through this training enable workers to engage with anyone – whatever their age, background or ability.
I continue to develop my skills as a practitioner, supporting students to volunteer in a range of settings and by conducting applied research.