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Youth workers share their stories

Youth workers from across Cardiff have been sharing their stories to coincide with Youth Work Week in Wales (23 – 30 June), which celebrates the impact and diversity of youth work.

The often heart-warming accounts give an insight into the day-to-day life of a youth worker in Cardiff, how they got into the role, career highlights and what keeps them in the job.

Tyler Cook, a youth mentor for looked after children had career plans to be a nurse but after falling into a work placement in a youth club, describes the feeling of “when you know, you know.”

She said: “I found my passion for working with young people and making a difference. The impact our role has on young people, the consistency we give them and empathy of the trauma they have been through, allows us to build a relationship through trust, helping to support them to make a difference.”

Tyler has worked in the Youth Offending Service, provided support in a semi-independent living hostel for 16-18-year-old care leavers and has worked in a residential home with young people – experiences which has led her to her current role.

Darryl is a senior youth support worker based in Splott. “I got into youth work six years ago. My previous job was an activity instructor for an outdoor company and we would regularly get youth groups and groups from pupil referral units visit the centre to do activities. I very quickly built up a good relationship with the staff and young people. I enjoyed working with young people who sometimes present with challenging behaviour. When a job came up within the youth service, I was asked if I wanted to apply for it and retrain to be a youth worker.

“This excited me as when I was growing up youth workers were an important part of my teenage life and going to youth clubs was brilliant.”

He continued: “Young people who access Eastmoors Youth Centre know that it is a safe space for them and there is always someone to listen and offer support. We pride ourselves on being able to offer young people this support and in the winter months offer young people a hot drink and food to help with the cost of living crisis.”

Cardiff Council cabinet member for tackling poverty and supporting young people, Councillor Peter Bradbury said: “I used to attend North Ely Youth Centre myself when I was younger so I am aware of the invaluable provision, support and help that the Youth Service provides. 

“City-wide the provision welcomes hundreds of young people, providing a lifeline for many young people in the local area, giving them a place to go, someone to talk to and an opportunity to take part in informal education based on their needs.

“I would encourage anyone who is interested in starting a career in Youth Work to find out more and join this invaluable and important team that helps and supports so many.”

T find out more, you can see a film featuring young people, speaking about the impact the serice has had on them here.

Follow Cardiff Youth Service on social media:

Twitter @YouthCardiff

or visit their website

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