June 28, 2016
To celebrate Youth Work Week, Geraint Jones, who studied BA Youth and Community Work and is graduating this summer, shares his youth work journey experience.Youth Work Week is an annual event that provides youth workers and young people with the opportunity to celebrate the achievements and impacts of youth work.
My youth work journey began six years ago in the evergreen wilderness of Minnesota, USA. Little did I know at the time but this unique experience would change my life dramatically. In brief, this experience inspired an opportunity to broaden my skill-set and challenge myself by working alongside young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with potentially difficult behaviour. By the end of the camp I felt proud to be a part of each young person’s accomplishments and to this day I continue to reflect upon that experience and simply smile.
After gaining classroom experience as a Learning Support Assistant, I decided to challenge myself academically. I enrolled at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David to study BA Youth and Community Work. The course has been a positive life-changing experience for me. It has helped to instil in me a new level of self-awareness, allowing me to question my own preconceptions and prejudices, as well as the origins of my thinking processes and behaviour. Thanks to this learning, I have been a part of successfully establishing Llanelli’s first Welsh medium youth club, providing a non-formal environment for the town’s young people to meet and have fun, whilst developing an understanding of the cultural identity unique to Wales.
Alongside my studies I have represented youth work students across Wales at national level. I was fortunate to be selected to share my experiences at a Youth Work Ministerial Advisory Group for Welsh Government. As my degree has come to an end, and I graduate next month, I have successfully secured a full time professional youth work role, working alongside young people through the Welsh language. It is an exciting position and one I wake up enthusiastic for each and every day.
Ultimately my youth work experiences to date have shaped my practice in a unique way, from which I can call upon experience and knowledge to support young people. I aim to continue on my youth work journey with confidence and happiness. To me, hard work and resilience are fundamental to achieving the sometimes perceivable impossible tasks.