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My journey as a youth worker #YWW17

My journey as a youth worker #YWW17

Tash Bright No Comment

First and foremost let me introduce myself, my name is Nazmin Jahan and I am a youth worker based in Community Youth Teams West.

Let me answer a question I’ve been asked a numerous amount of times in the past: “how did you end up working with young people and why youth work?” 

Well, it all started on that fateful day I decided to walk into Star House by myself, after seeing a vacancy on the Sheffield Futures website for Youth Work Apprentices. At this point in my life I was an 18 year old young person, from a Bengali-Muslim background, who had just finished a long two years at sixth-form. I was not a very confident person to say the least, I was nervous about the littlest things for example, making phone calls, meeting new people and attending appointments.

Something I will always remember vividly is the careers interview I had the day I walked into Star House. I was a nervous wreck! It was my first time attending something I found on my own accord and something no one had spoon fed me. So, I’m waiting in the reception area, looking very lost, when a women approaches me and asks me if I am Nazmin, to which I respond yes. I am then led down the hall way (which felt like a very long walk). I am sat down and asked questions like what my grades are like and why I’m interested in the vacancy, I answer each question with a lot of thought.

After all the questions and my very thought-out answers, I am told to come in next week where I will start my ‘Step into Youth Work’ introduction at YASY. I am delighted, but I’ll admit Googling ‘what does a youth worker do?’ when I got home, and I don’t think I would still be able to answer that question and have a definitive definition nearly 7 years on.

That’s how it all started. I worked hard to overcome my anxieties: catching buses, working out where to go, breaking down barriers with young people so on and so forth (whilst also being a young person myself.)

I would not be where I am without the help of my colleagues. When I started I was astonished about the passion youth workers had, and how much experience others had. I was fully supported in all the areas of work I did. If I wanted to deliver a group work activity I was allowed, if I wanted to support a young person face to face I was given guidance and help. Without that support and encouragement I don’t think I would have made it to where I am today, or even be a part of this service.

Youth workers have amazing tool kits – it may differ from one to another but everyone will bring something different to the table. For me, interpersonal skills and being able to break down barriers is essential. It’s like carrying a tool kit with you wherever you go, but you are that toolkit. You use that when you want to; you use it when there is trouble in the youth club or to diffuse conflict, when you approach a group of young people for the first time on detached youth work.

Youth Work is something that will never age, it’s much needed. Working with young people of all ages, from different backgrounds and experiencing different things. You are that support mechanism and that one thing they may look forward to, even if it is one day a week.

Looking back at myself as an 18 year old, I am appreciative of everyone who encouraged and supported me and yes, youth worked me.

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