Outreach Worker
Disability Alliance

Outreach Worker
Disability Alliance

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John E

00.00.04 My name’s John and I work here at the Birmingham Disability Resource Centre as an outreach worker. It means that I work outside of the centre a fair degree of time engaging disabled people who require advice and guidance on employment based issues. It could be training, it could be employment, it could be voluntary. Loosely what we call employment preparation.

00.00.34 I left school in 1969 and in those days you could leave school in the fourth year of the senior school. So I was still 15 when I left school. And many of the options in those days if you hadn’t decided to stay on at school and do more academic based things was to find a trade, which is what I did and I entered into the printing trade and ended up signing up for the five year apprenticeship, which is what I did. Qualified as a printer and continued to work in that trade for about 30 years, in fact until I was 49, which is when I made a career change.

00.01.14 I think as time went by as with a lot of things, you become slightly disenchanted and little bored I suppose, after over 30 years doing one job. I did work for different places. I didn’t work continually for one organisation but it was more or less the same job that I did for 30 years. And one of the things that prompted a change was actually health issues. I found I had a health problem which working in the trade that I did, would be affected by the physical aspect of the job and also a lot of chemicals and things like that were affecting my health and I decided to change.

00.01.52 When I finished working in the printing trade, I came to this centre for advice. And it was picked up fairly quickly by some of the people who worked here that I could perhaps could try and work as an advisor or work within this sector. And I became a volunteer here and then I took NVQs in advice and guidance. Now when I actually packed up printing, to be able to do that I took afternoon work. I drew up a plan with various people who advised me at the time. And I became a security guard in the afternoons. The reason being, was so that I could earn some money, still earn some money having left the printing trade, but still train to be able to this work.

00.02.34 So I trained and I would say, and took on some of the training on offer here at the centre and took that into my voluntary work here, until some posts became available. I applied for one of those. Got a part-time post and was successful applying for that. And gradually became a full-time member of staff here at the centre.

00.02.56 I think the balance between your personal and your life at home and your working life is very, very important. I think if you become too involved with either one thing it can dominate your life and that’s not always a good thing. I think balancing all aspects of life is important. And I would certainly say that about work and lifestyle and personal life, that balance is very, very important. We’ve got a good network of friends. I’ve got a growing family now, I’ve got three grown up children, six grandchildren so they take up a lot of our weekends and our spare time.

00.03.31 I enjoy travelling. My wife and myself travel a fair amount, holidays, nice holidays. I enjoy football. I watch professional football. I used to play a lot myself when I was younger. And I still enjoy live music, I go to a lot of music events and things like that so I’ve got quite a full personal life as well as a very busy working life

00.03.53 END

John E is an outreach worker at Birmingham Disability Resource Centre. He was a printer for thirty years, but work-related health problems forced a rethink. He became a volunteer at the centre, took NVQs in advice and guidance and financed this by working as a security guard in the afternoons. Now he has the full time job he wanted.

More information about Youth and community workers

Check out 22 videos about this career

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average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

26%  male  74%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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.
Employment by region?
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Social work 29743
Health 15627
Residential care 10412
Membership organisations 8765
Public admin. & defence 7072
Services to buildings 2820
Education 2785
Veterinary 1500
Sport & recreation 1434
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