Do you have a career as a youth worker in the UK? Do you enjoy being able to give back to your community, help youths with the transition into young adulthood, and ensure you do your very best to implement the most meaningful and impactful programmes? If so, there is no doubt you take great pride in your career, and are most likely always looking for a way to grow, evolve, and be even better at your job.
With that said, we’ve got some tips and advice on how you can do just that. These tips and advice will allow you to step up your game as a youth worker and feel that much more fulfilled, all while helping people through this often difficult and precarious stage of their life.
Work on Improving Your Communication Skills
While there are all kinds of skills that a youth worker needs to have, perhaps the most important is communication skills. Even if you think you’re pretty good in this area, there is always room for improvement. Remember that communication skills include listening, speaking, and writing.
The person you are working with needs to feel as though they have been heard and understood and you need to be able to communicate back to them in an effective manner. Keep in mind that this means you’ll need to use different techniques with different people, as not everyone is the same and their style of communication can differ.
So, how can you improve your communication skills? You can start by practicing on family and friends at home, ask for their input on where you can improve, and really use them to bounce ideas and skills off. Practice giving people your full attention, really listening, and then think before you respond/speak.
Look into Obtaining Your Masters in Education
Another tip is to look into obtaining your Masters in Education at a prestigious university that has made a name for itself and offers a comprehensive programme. This programme is ideal for those who are already in the field as a youth worker and want to be able to reach that next level of success.
The Masters in Education has been specifically designed to give students all the skills they need from an educational standpoint. Also, students will dive deep into global education practices, policy making, research, and theory. You’ll be armed with the skills necessary to embrace a variety of teaching methodologies, which allows you to better connect with the youths you are working with.
This programme is so vast and broad that it can appeal not just to youth workers, but basically anyone who is working as an education officer, trainer, mentor, teacher, and more.
Consider Working in a Different Setting Than You’re Used To
The great thing about being a youth worker is that your skills, knowledge, and experience can be put to use in a large variety of work settings/locations. If you’re looking to improve your skills and techniques, it may make sense to step outside your comfort zone and work in different settings. Even if you’re just working in various locations on a part-time, on-call, or temporary basis it gives you a chance to connect with different people and get a sense how different locations operate.
In terms of the most popular settings for youth workers to find a job in, these include youth centres, schools, colleges, and faith-based groups. Don’t forget that targeted work with high-risk youths – such as street work – can be some of the most meaningful you will do.
Learn to Better Deal with Stress on the Job
In order to excel in your job as a youth worker, you also need to be able to give your all without feeling the stress of the job. It’s not unusual for youth workers to experience high levels of stress and anxiety; after all, the youths they are working with are often going through some very heavy and real issues. While it’s impossible to turn your emotions off completely, there are ways you can better deal with the on-the-job stress so it doesn’t affect your ability to connect and truly help people.
A good place to start is to make sure you’re starting off your day in a healthy manner. This helps to set you up for a successful day where you can cope and manage the stress that much better. You want to be sure you’ve gotten enough sleep, don’t feel rushed and panicked in the mornings, and eat a healthy breakfast that fuels your body and brain.
You will be that much more alert at work, able to offer your best self, and better equipped to multi-task and weather any storm that comes your way.
Try Learning Another Language to Broaden Who You Can Work With
If you want to set a really lofty goal for yourself, you can aim to learn another language. This will open up all kinds of doors for you, allowing you to work with other communities who speak a different language. Although this will take time, it’s a long-term goal that you can start to work towards. You can enrol in formal language classes, try online classes, watch information videos, or even use apps that take you through the basics of a different language. The point is that there is a lot of flexibility here so that you’re bound to find a method that works for your schedule and expectations.
Look into Other Jobs that Use Similar Skills
Then again, maybe you’ve reached the limit of what you can do in terms of a youth worker, and now you want to move into a different career. The experience and skills you possess can help you to transition into community education, social work, outdoor education, and professional training.
So, if it feels you’ve plateaued in your job as a youth worker, it’s time to look a little closer and find ways to push yourself and really move to that next level of success.