Youth Work Co-ordinator
East Belfast Mission

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Gillian Y

00:02 My name is Gillian Y and I’m the youth work co-coordinator in East Belfast Mission.

00:06 I work with children from zero up until twenty-five. So I would say lots of different things from being involved in the parent and toddler group I would, I run a children’s youth club which is from primary one to primary seven that’s age five to eleven. I also run a, a dance meeting class, it’s a hip hop dance class. That’s from age eight until twenty-one. But I also do a lot of one on one work with teenagers, like mentoring kind of thing.

00:38 I think from age of sixteen, seventeen I really wanted to get involved in youth work. I valued the time and energy oh those adults who’d invested in my life as I was growing up and thought that this would be something that I would love to get involved with.

00:54 When you’re working with people it’s quite hard to switch off sometimes and children and young people sometimes don’t have a very positive background or family life or schooling so for someone who’s seen as an adult to actually want to take time to listen to them and, and just engage in general conversation with them, they, they value that.

01:14 I kind of grew up in a church sort of environment as I went to different church youth programmes and my sister and I were both baptised as children and we kind of went to Sunday school and whatever and then when we were a wee bit older my sister got unwell with cancer and then we hadn’t really went to church very much but that particular church at the time really took me under their wing and helped out a lot with our family and, and from then our family started to go to that particular church and then I just got involved in different activities that they provided.

01:48 When I was studying for my A levels someone approached me about doing a youth ministry certificate that the uh Presbyterian church were offering so I went and I did that and got a whole year’s training in different aspects of youth work and really enjoyed that year. I went down and did theology at Queens University and within that degree we did, well I took a lot of classes in pastoral care and youth work and more the kind of people kind of modules, so I got a wee bit of training but I don’t have any specific accredited qualification in youth work.

02:24 The school that I went to, it was sort of, you know, expected that most people did just go to university so I just jumped on the bandwagon and went to university like everyone else did.

02:35 It’s a good course, not too many hours, so there was a lot of time for me to volunteer in different projects and get involved in other things and whilst I was at university I volunteered in a drop-in centre that did the crisis run up in Ballysillan and I was there for four years and that’s probably the place that gave me most of my background in youth work and I learned a lot there from the kids that are there to the volunteers that are there to staff that work there.

03:04 My dad is a milkman and I think he’s been a milkman from he was a child. He used to help his milkman out then he’s been self-employed then for years so I’m pretty sure he’ll retire as a milkman even though it’s a dying trade.

03:19 Before I worked here I always said that I would never work in a church. I always wanted to do community youth work and I think here is quite a good example of a place that can, can do both things. It’s real community focussed area.

03:35 I do think that, you know, in the next year or so I’ll definitely proceed with some counselling qualifications but even if I don’t go to specifically into counselling in the next even five years, it’ll still be useful for the current job that I’m doing.

03:50 END

Gillian Y is the youth work co-coordinator in East Belfast Mission. She works with children from age zero up to twenty-five “I run a children’s youth club which is from primary one to primary seven that’s age five to eleven. I also run a hip hop dance class”. She had been involved with the church from a young age, and after doing some training courses with them and finishing her degree she went into youth work.

More information about Youth and community workers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

25%  male 
75%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Youth and community workers provide support to individuals or groups of individuals through a range of activities or services that aim to encourage participation in social and community life and promote personal and social development.
There are no formal academic entry requirements though a minimum age for appointment between 18 and 21 normally applies. Most qualified youth workers possess an accredited diploma in higher education or postgraduate diploma in youth and community work. A majority of qualifying courses are for people aged over 21 years of age. Background checks including a CRB check are likely to be required.
  • Organises social, recreational and educational activities in local community and youth groups;
  • Undertakes the day-to-day running of community centres and supervises the activities of part-time and voluntary workers;
  • Liaises and supports voluntary workers running groups in village halls, churches, mosques and other places of worship;
  • Advises individuals with particular needs or problems through informal discussion, individual counselling or formal group discussion;
  • Helps set up credit unions, encourages parents to establish playgroups, works with other groups to find solutions to shared concerns or problems.
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