Youth Work Week 2019 blog: Skilled and equipped to learn and earn

Youth Work Week 2019 blog: Skilled and equipped to learn and earn

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Louise Ellison is the Deputy Services Manager here at Sheffield Futures. As part of Louise’s role, she manages the delivery of Youth Sheffield, Sheffield’s city wide youth service. Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and confident and take part in enriching activities, keeping them safe and supported to make the most of their lives. For today’s #YWW19 theme, Louise talks about how Sheffield Futures works to ensure young people in Sheffield are ‘skilled and equipped to learn and earn’.

In my experience it starts with creating the right environment. Bringing young people in and building trust, making young people feel valued by society and instilling belief that they have the potential to achieve and succeed, especially if they are low in confidence initially.

Our city-wide youth service Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and boosted, in a space physically and mentally where they are able to access their own potential to learn and earn. Like everything, the conditions need to be right for young people to grow and thrive.

The key to creating the right environment for this is investment in highly skilled and trained youth workers who can not only involve young people in enriching activities, but help keep them safe and inspire and support them to make the most of their lives.

Youth Sheffield is led by a team of youth work team leaders who coordinate a curriculum of activities, including sports, arts and life skills that draws upon the expertise of partners in communities around Sheffield. This curriculum is delivered across 20 youth centres, and through street based youth work, for those who are not able to access a club.

Through our work giving young people the tools to use their voice and influence through social action projects, for example with the #iwill Ahead partnership, we recognise the value and necessity of working with skilled organisations to deliver opportunities for our young people and welcome approaches from all interested parties in this capacity.

Once we feel young people are in a place where they are ready to access support, they are engaged in an age appropriate way to address specific learning or employment options. From here, young people are given access to one to one support to help them get back on track with work, training, education and to lead productive, independent lives. For example, school aged young people can access Sheffield Futures careers advice in school, and here at Star House and this support extends for those with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 25.

Youth workers are also so well placed to spot warning signs, when young people are at risk of losing direction in life. They might be missing school, work or being involved in anti-social behaviour in or outside school. The reasons for this can be complex but youth workers are able to work with young people to dig deeper and understand what’s going on at home and if there are problems with emotional health and wellbeing, like anxiety or other mental health conditions.

Lack of structure and a chaotic home environment can unsurprisingly really influence a young person’s ability to lead a productive life. Our targeted youth support workers provide bespoke practical and emotional support to cater to the complex needs of those at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training or those that already are. It’s a form of safety net. This support is available for all young people including some of the most vulnerable, for example those that have been living in care. There’s also one to one support available for young adults aged 20-24 who find themselves directionless as a result of mental health issues.

If you or a young person you know is experiencing any of the issues mentioned here and would benefit from support please reach out to Sheffield Futures. Tel 0114 2012800 or [email protected]

Find out more about your local community youth club here.

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.