I consider myself extremely lucky to have kick started my career with Young Devon. I entered the charity sector with one thing in mind; to learn, soak up new knowledge and gain as much experience as possible. I quickly learnt that Young Devon is the best place to be for this because of the support and encouragement they offer their staff.
When I said I wanted to gain more experience working directly with young people, a form was thrust upon me and they quickly signed me up to the Job Shadowing scheme. The scheme is designed to give Young Devon staff a taste of what it is like to work in another role. At first glance, I assumed I would literally be ‘shadowing’ someone, simply observing someone new to find out more about their job. However, for me, the whole process far exceeded these expectations. As part of the process, I was partnered with the Participation team who soon got me involved in their Early Help for Mental Health Service. I lead and supported groups of young people in mental health workshops, facilitated young person interview panels and took part in the EH4MH training for education professionals. The EH4MH team has taught me so many things that have not only been profitable for my own role in increasing my knowledge of EH4MH and the challenges young people face with their mental health. But I also gained essential skills and experience which have been extremely valuable for my professional development.
It was invaluable to step out from behind my desk and experience a new way of working. Melody took me under her wing to teach me all there is to know about planning and delivering workshops that tackle sensitive issues for young people. From this, I developed my facilitation skills and I gained confidence in my ability to lead and support groups. As a result, I have been able to design and deliver my own workshops for NCS on how to use social media for social action. This is something I definitely would not have been able to do without learning necessary skills and tools from Mel and the rest of the participation team.
I am extremely grateful to have taken part in the Job Shadowing scheme. To learn from another member of staff, explore new ways of working, and understand more about the different challenges young people face. The experience was extremely beneficial and something I urge all staff to take up. As my time at Young Devon comes to an end I am pleased to say that I am stepping out into the world with a wealth of experience and skills under my belt. Skills and knowledge that I will be able to carry with me throughout my career in the youth sector (fingers crossed this is where I stay).