Youth Work Week 2021 - Aaron's Journey

READ AARON'S JOURNEY

I was first introduced to Youth Work when I was in High School and attended a youth club based in my local community of Braehead. I regularly participated in games nights, movie nights and generally hanging about with friends and peers. I had a real keenness to be helpful and was always offering to help serve at the club tuck shop.

A few years later, after an incredibly challenging time of my life, I was referred to an interior design group for young people moving from temporary accommodation into their first ever tenancy. In the group I was able to work with an Interior Designer while accessing support from a Youth Worker specifically responsible for supporting young people with independent living. When I started the group I was really struggling with Acute Anxiety Disorder and Trauma but with a lot of encouragement and support I found the courage to continue attending. I really felt my confidence grow in this project and the Youth Worker offered all the encouragement and emotional support I needed at that time. As time went on it was recommended I attend and offer help to set up three other projects which were being delivered by the service: A Youth Democratic Participation project, An LGBT Youth Project and one where young people created content for the local Young Scot webpage. 

The Youth Workers were incredibly nurturing and patient with me which really supported me to develop a lot as individual. As a participant I completed my Gold Youth Achievement Award and my 500 hours Saltire Award. I gained massively from all the projects I participated in and from the Youth Workers support.

My relationships with the staff inspired me to volunteer my time offering support to Youth Workers in the delivery of Community Based Youth Work. At the same time I joined a Peer Assisted Learning project which helped me to perform well in the voluntary role by providing training and opportunities to build upon my experience as a Youth Worker. Throughout this time I gained leadership, problem solving and critical thinking skills which gave me the confidence to then apply for and attend an Access to Degree Studies course.

I moved on from volunteering to a sessional Youth Worker. I continued this role throughout my studies which led me to obtaining a General Degree in Sociology and Criminology. As I continued to deliver Youth Work and gained my PDA in Youth Work.

I was employed as a part time Youth Work Assistant to lead the Youth Information Advice and Guidance Service and to support Youth Work within secondary Schools. In this role I was most proud of the influence I had on services available to Young Adult Cares who due to my work had a group of their own to attend and that had positive outcomes in supporting them to find employment. I worked in this role for a little over a year before I moved onto my first fulltime position with the Local Authority. I continue to be actively involved in various youth projects and I thoroughly enjoy the work that helps make a positive difference in the lives of young people. 

I have taken the power from the challenges I faced as a young person in order to shape who I am as a Youth Worker today. My personal experiences have been crucial in developing my ability to work sensitively, with a lot of patience and Empathy. Giving respect to all young people, valuing what they have to say and supporting them to overcome challenges and achieve their personal goals and aspirations.  

AH