NE1’s Space2 centre in Newcastle city centre aims to tackle the problems of youth unemployment and skills shortages in the region, with local businesses funding and supporting the centre directly. Over 300 young people have been helped into jobs, apprenticeships or training positions since the centre opened in 2013. Marufah Rahman joined Space2 as an IT apprenticeship and now works alongside her mentor and trainer, Maxine Brown, as a youth worker.
Senior youth worker
I have been a youth worker, working with the YMCA Newcastle, for over six years. When NE1’s Space2 first opened in March 2013, I was asked to work there permanently to help run the centre. I first met Marufah when she joined as an IT apprentice. I immediately knew there was something very special about her and she would make a very good youth worker. She had a great rapport with young people and the rest of the team so I encouraged her to move into this role.
Marufah hadn’t been involved with youth work before she came to Space2, so I helped her gain the skills needed for the job. I showed her how to build relationships with young people and how to interact with them as a youth worker, dealing with any challenging situations along the way. I taught her by working closely with her, mentoring her and showing her step by step how to work through different tasks and situations and how to deal with any problems she encountered. In that way, she learnt on the job and is now confident and well practised in all aspects of the work.
Junior youth worker
Back in 2013, I heard that Newcastle YMCA were looking for an IT apprentice for a new initiative called NE1’s Space2, so I applied and got the role. After my apprenticeship finished, the team kept me on and encouraged me to train as a junior youth worker. My mentor, Maxine, helped me to stay organised and showed me how to carry out my work in a professional manner. She was very welcoming and friendly and made me feel part of the team, which put me at ease. If I ever made mistakes, she would correct me by giving me constructive criticism and helped me resolve any problems. Maxine has taught me everything I know about youth work. I didn’t have any experience, so I would watch her working, talking to young people, resolving challenging situations, taking responsibility and even managing group activities.
The best thing she has taught me is how to engage with young people and build relationships. Maxine’s help and support has been invaluable to my career because with her help, I have broadened my experience and secured a job as a youth worker, which I love.
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