Degree and university: Keele University, English and International Politics
Work Title: VCS Strategy Co-ordinator
What it is you actually do? I work within the voluntary and community sector (VCS), commonly known as the Third Sector and my position is an enabling position to bring together VCS organisations, including vulnerable Black and Ethnic Minority groups, together with Children and Young People’s Services to address identified issues such as safeguarding and child protection, in order to enable a healthy and dynamic sector. I am also the VCS project lead for the Children’s Workforce Development Project in Stoke-on-Trent, which aims to upskill the Staffordshire children’s workforce to a common induction standard to keep our children and young people safe. As part of my role I encourage all partners to promote inclusive working practices to enable those traditionally "hard to reach" to participate.
Why did you decide to stay in the West Midlands after graduation? I am originally from Norfolk and at the time of graduation in 2005 there were not as many opportunities in Norfolk for me also I met my fiancé at university and he wanted to go back to Keele to study. I recognised the West Midlands has a lot to offer young people in terms of affordable housing and quality of life.
Why did you decide to go into this sector? In my final year at Keele I specialised in Human Rights and realised that underlying my thirst for knowledge about the world around me was a passion for making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people. The Third Sector offered me something statutory partners couldn’t; a real grass roots and creative approach to working with some of our most vulnerable children and young people within Staffordshire.
What do you like most about you do?The interaction I have and the opportunities that I can give to vulnerable children and young people within Staffordshire. I also enjoy the partnership working aspect to my role as I have noticed a difference in the sector with regards to collaborative working, in that organisations are more willing to work together in order to achieve a better outcome for children and young people. I also enjoy the number of events that I am involved in planning, including designing workshops for young people to be consulted on, and conferences on child protection issues.