How we do Youth Work: Empowering Futures and Building Communities

YMCA Brunel Group Youth Workers Ali and Natalie’s recently attained their Level 3 Qualification in Youth Work, a significant milestone in their careers and a well-earned achievement!

Youth work is big part of what we do to help young people belong, contribute and thrive, and it is staff like Natalie and Ali who make our programs stand out.

Our YMCA Brunel Group values underpin all of our work, including our youth and community activities. We recognize everyone has right to contribute and that their contribution is valid. We create welcoming spaces where we accept and recognize each individual.

Our youth workers endeavour to:

  • Create environments where young people are welcomed, acknowledged, listened to and championed, both individually and as a group.
  • Encourage creativity so young people can leave a mark uniquely theirs and develop life-long skills and hobbies, fostering self-confidence.
  • Work co-productively to build trust and mutual respect with young people
  • Encourage young people to get involved in their communities, participate in impactful social action projects, and have their voices heard.
  • Support young people’s opinions around the youth centres and detached programs, recognising that it is their space.
  • Provide a safe space for young people where they can learn, socialise, eat a warm meal, and talk about anything they might need to talk about with trusted professionals.

Ali and Natalie’s achievement shows their commitment to providing excellent youth programs. The Level 3 course not only honed their professional skills but also enriched their knowledge base, equipping them with the tools necessary to navigate the complexities of youth engagement effectively.

The Somerset Youth Alliance celebration event served as a platform to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. With Councillor Heather Shearer, the Lead Member for Children, Families, and Education, presenting their certificates, the event symbolized the collective commitment to nurturing the next generation of youth workers.

The presence of representatives from diverse organizations such as In The Mix Project, YMCA Brunel Group, 2BU, Active Learning and Skills, Young Somerset, and Minehead Eye exemplifies the interconnectedness of efforts aimed at youth empowerment. These organizations share a common goal of enriching the lives of young people across the county, and we are so proud to be a part of the work to help young people belong, contribute and thrive.

We believe that youth work embodies a commitment to social justice, inclusivity, compassion and community. By actively engaging with young individuals, youth workers become advocates for positive change, addressing issues ranging from mental health challenges to educational disparities. We value the importance of young people’s voices, and we aim to provide young people with the tools to be confident individuals who contribute to society in a positive and impactful way.

Youth work at YMCA Brunel Group begins at an individual level. We get to know the young person, if relevant we link with their schools, social workers, or police. Youth workers engage with each young person to build an understanding of their background, family life, any troubles they may be facing or barriers that may be holding them back, what they enjoy, etc. Through coaching and mentoring, we work with them as individuals and in a group to help the them overcome barriers and feel a sense of belonging.

Ali and Natalie’s commitment to furthering their training and experience exemplifies the impact of dedicated individuals who tirelessly advocate for the well-being and empowerment of young people.

We are incredibly grateful to have staff like Ali and Natalie, and all of our other youth workers, in the YMCA Brunel Group family. With such an amazing team, we can continue to provide excellent youth programs which play a vital role in shaping the future and building resilient communities.