A day in the life of a Youth Opportunities worker

JfKL's Emma Geraghty blogs on her work helping children and young people to reach their potential.
8 Jun 2018

Youth opportunities work can be highly rewarding

For me, every day at work is different, challenging and interesting. This can be said of my colleagues and of the young people that I meet too. Daily, I travel around London meeting young people who need support with education, training and employment. Having a varied and flexible weekly schedule is one of the perks about my role. I get to work around you.

Today is Friday and I start my day when I’m still on the train to work. First I send two introductory texts to young people I’ve not yet met. One wants to get a full time job quite urgently. He is not getting enough hours at his current job for him to sustain his bills.  The other wants help to write his UCAS personal statement and exploring universities.

Next I send more texts, this time to young people I’ve been working with for a while. It’s not long until I’m at the office and I get my first response: *PING*. It’s from a young person who says she’s got an interview on Tuesday! She’d like help preparing so I give her a call. We agree to meet this evening in her local library. We plan to talk through the application for the job and practice some interview questions. We’ll also do some research on the company and possibly make an appointment for some interview clothing at Dress for Success. (They are excellent by the way.)

Generally most of my work is outreach – where I go and meet young people in a cafe or library close to where they live – but, like today, it does also involve some admin at our North London office. At the office, I sit together and work very closely with our Youth Advocacy team. This is hugely important as most of the young people I work with are referred by advocates. Our office can go suddenly from a buzz of chatter to hearing just the clicking of the keyboard keys. Everyone works so hard: research, phone calls, emails, planning and report writing.

Top of my to-do list is to finalise plans for our next work experience student who is starting on Monday. I supervise the week-long work experience placements at JfKL and they are really popular. I create a timetable for the next week that includes all the different areas of our work at JfKL. It’s jam-packed with meetings, interviews, research and tasks. This week there is also an opportunity to shadow a lawyer and, depending on the student’s interests, we may even take a trip to Old Bailey on the last day.

Before I go out the door, I send a reminder text to our Youth Ambassadors group about our next meeting. The Youth Ambassadors are a group of young people that are former or current clients of JFKL. They attend monthly meetings and events where they influence our services by participating in workshops, consultation projects and the recruitment of staff. Individually, the Youth Ambassadors develop their personal skills and have fun and pizza - we can’t forget pizza! I print some helpful interview preparation sheets to take with me; check Citymapper and I’m on my way to do some outreach.

So, for those of you who don’t know whether or not to call up or if you have doubts - let me encourage you to call up and ask about Opps. We know that finding employment is difficult, that applications can be hard and that two heads can be better than one. We really do want to help you; there will be no judgement on you or your situation. We plan together, based on the goals that you want to achieve.

Refer a young person