You need a mentor

Podcast 009: You need a mentor

You need a mentor
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You need a mentor!!!

In todays Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast “You need a mentor”, Aaron gets us thinking about the need for mentors in youth work. We look at five things we need to do to find and get a mentor. He also leaves us with a challenge. Here is the overview.


Find a worthy mentor

Check them out! If you are looking to become a better you in your personal life, your job wherever then you want someone who is going to be able to do that. There are a lot of people who make their living telling you what to do who have never done the things they sprout. Snake oil sellers.

You want to find a person who has lived a worthy life. Who has made mistakes and learnt from them. Who dosen’t have all the answers but has a network of people to help them. Who sees their family as more important than the work.

The key here is to see if their public face and private are the same or if they wear masks. Check out their social media profiles, ask people who know them about their personality and behaviour.

Mentoring doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment. What does this person have to enrich your life or work?

If they are not a fit move on to someone that is.

Be mentor worthy

Nothing will end your search for a mentor faster than if you are not ready. There is an old proverb that goes “when the student is ready the master will appear”. This fits perfectly in mentoring. Mentor will check you out too. You don’t have to be perfect but you have to want to strive towards it. You need to be teachable and open to being challenged. You need to recognise your limitations and know what makes you tick. You need to know your values and why you want a mentor.

Your work must be of an exceptional level. If it’s not you better be able to show that you are trying. You need to be a learner at heart, taking every opportunity to learn a new skill. You must be reflective.

If you tick these boxes you will be in a great place to find and get a mentor. If you don’t tick the boxes it doesn’t mean you are lost. Work on the things that you are lacking and realise that most people will overlook your lack of skills and experience for a bit more passion.

Make the ask

If the potential mentor is worthy and you are a worthy candidate then it’s time to ask them to be your mentor.

  • Don’t be a crazy fanboy of girl. Don’t ask for the person to “be your mentor” right off the bat. It too big of an ask at the first meeting. Get to know them first.
  • Ask for an initial meeting. Something informal, over coffee maybe. Remember to keep it to less than an hour. Come with questions that you’re prepared to ask, but let the conversation flow. This is the best place for you to check out if they are going to be a good fit for you. If all looks good Ask if they would be willing to mentor you.
  • After that initial meeting don’t forget to drop a thank you note to the potential mentor

Don’t ask a yes man

This is a side note to the ask. You don’t want someone who will agree with you all the time. Difference is good. You want someone who will compliment the skills you have and the behavioural style that you have. For more info on this check out our blog posts on DISC. D.I.S.C. The best person to mentor you is one who understands you and brings complimentary knowledge and skills.

Have more than one

In our self care cast we spoke about the need to have multiple people keep you accountable. Similarly no one person will have all the answers. Seek out a few people who can speak into different aspects of your life. Career, family, personal, faith, future. Some people see this as having a board of advisors for your life. They don’t need to all be at the same time. In this case though having more than one person is great.

Give back (be a mentor for others)

If you have been a youth worker for at least 5 years you should be seeking out new youth workers that you can mentor. If you had a new person every year and they went on to mentor other youth workers the numbers grow exponentially. As a sector we would have the most well supported staff ever. We need this so much as most youth workers will bail on the job before they make 5 years. A bit more support will go a very long way.

We challenge you to seek out worthy mentee. It doesn’t have to be someone in your organisation… just someone in the sector.

To support the podcast, donate here!

Conclusion

Mentoring doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment. Great mentors can come in and out of your life at the weirdest times and that is ok. If you don’t have a mentor get one. If you have been in the field for five years or more we challenge you to be mentoring new youth workers. We know this is going to help you and the youth sector as a whole.

Stay frosty.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast

Podcast 008: How do I become a youth worker?

Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast
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How to become a youth worker

Our podcast this week is an audio version of our blog post “How do I become a youth worker“? Over the years we have had hundreds of people speak to us, email us, message us on Facebook and even get their parents to reach out to us to ask us the best way to become a youth worker. Honestly, I get asked this question so much that I have decided to put it into a podcast for prosperity sake… and so I had somewhere to point people when they ask. I say this so often it has become a bit of a spiel so stay with me and by the end you will have a clear guide on how to become a youth worker.

It is small easy steps that help you to become a youth worker. All you have to do is:

  1. Why do you want to become a youth worker?
  2. Understand your values
  3. Know what type of youth work you want to do
  4. Volunteer
  5. Read
  6. Go to training
  7. Network
  8. Get an education
  9. Make the most of placement opportunities
  10. and never ever stop learning.

Take this list and work through all the tips and we guarantee you will become an awesome youth worker. It is a process. You need to take little steps in the right direction.

If you really want to be a solid youth worker that has some career longevity then starting right and getting some support while you do this is so important. Get a person who can mentor you through this process. Someone who has been in the sector for at least five years. When you finally become a youth worker get some good supervision and work for agencies that will look out for you.

Help us keep the podcast going by donating a few dollars to the running costs.

Do you think we missed anything???

Let us know what we need to add by emailing us.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Career Development

Podcast Episode 007: Career Development

Career Development
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One of the biggest concerns youth workers have about the job is the lack of opportunity to move up the pecking order. Most youth work agencies are rather small or they are a niche within a larger service such as health organisations, education or larger non government conglomerates. This leads youth workers to feel that their career options are severely limited.

There is also an erroneous thought that your organisation is meant to look out for you. That they spend time and effort developing you as a person and as a professional to take the next step in your career. The fact of the matter is that if you are not looking at developing your career it is likely that no one else is either.

Career Development

Start by asking yourself “what position, role or job do I want in 5 years”? 5 years can seem like a long time but if you need some new qualifications or some experience it could take you that long to get it. When you have worked out what type of role you might like its time to hit the job boards. Download 3-5 position descriptions for the roles you might like. You want to audit those positions for the Skills, Traits, Abilities, Experience and Qualifications they are asking candidates to have.

Download our template here Skills Audit

Once you have completed the Audit of position descriptions you need to start breaking the results down for yourself. The easiest place to begin is by asking yourself “Do I have the qualifications I need for the job I want“? This is a question of the depth and breadth of your qualifications. How skilled are you in your area of expertise for example: youth work. Do you hold a certificate that took you 6 months or a Masters which took you 5+ years to get? How broad is your expertise? Is it just in the one field or do you have qualifications in many areas.

Download our Qualifications_Depth and Breath template here

Check out Aaron’s Example here

What experience do you bring to the job you are after? Do you have relevant employment experience? Have you held similar roles? Have you volunteered? Remember when it comes to career development experience is important but more passion trumps experience almost every time.

Check out you local Job sites:

www.jobseeker.org.au

www.ethicaljobs.com.au

www.seek.com.au

If you are not networking you are standing still. Networking is the second most important career development skill you must have (the first is self care). Are you a member of Peak Bodies or Industry Groups? Are you involved with your Local Youth Work Networks? If not you should be!!! You should also be a member of LinkedIn.com (come and find me when you are signed up).

To support the podcast, donate here!

Conclusion

If you want a long and successful career in youth work the only person who can help you do it is you. Spend time planning and doing the hard yards to get yourself there, but make sure those things are the right things. Work on the areas which will give you the best rewards. Most of all keep going in the sector. We need qualified and motivated people to lead the charge.

If you liked this cast don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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What is Youth Work?

Podcast 006: What is Youth Work Part Two

What is Youth Work?
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What is Youth Work?

In our previous cast “What is Youth Work – 002” we looked at the broadest overview of youth work. We spoke to the most broad understanding of the youth sector and the term youth work that is surrounding the sector. We also looked at the broadest youth work definition that we use at Ultimate Youth Worker. If you are paid or volunteer in your capacity to provide support to young people as your primary concern you are doing youth work.

Recap of previous podcast “What is Youth Work – 002

  • The main reason for a youth work definition = Professional status
  • In Defence of Youth Work = Emancipatory and democratic youth work that is voluntary and starts with their concerns (link to open Letter)
  • National Youth Agency = Non-formal education in various forms (link to NYA)
  • RMIT = Youth work is about Justice and Human Rights (link to RMIT)
  • YACWA = Youth work is about providing formal and informal support to give young people a voice in their community (link to YACWA)
  • YACVIC = Working for and with young people, young people are your primary concern (link to YACVIC)
  • European commission on youth = Opportunity for young people to shape their own future (link to EU Youth).
  • Department of Children and Youth Affairs = Youth work is complimentary to formal education (link to DCYA)
  • Judith Bessant = Engaging with young people as our primary constituency in their social context
  • Infed = A history of youth works development (link to Infed)

Today we want to speak about the youth work definition that is most accepted in Australia.

In Australia we have been debating the core work of youth workers for decades. The earliest clear definition of youth work as a distinct industry came through the Jasper Declaration 1977.

The most current youth work definition used within Australia is from the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition 2013. After a consultation that brought together thoughts from all over Australia a whole day was devoted to defining youth work in Australia at the Australian Youth Affairs Conference 2013. The best part of 100 youth workers argued and debated for the day to craft a definition for our sector. After the conference there were a few more consultations and the definition was set.

A caveat to this – There are many in Australia who do not agree with the definition. Particularly, many from the North believed that the professionalisation debate was overshadowing good youth work. That the Southern and Eastern states had hijacked the youth work definition for their own. Funnily enough it is those states which have Degree programs.

Thought to end on

Youth work in Australia is still a contested site. The question of qualification is still at the forefront of the debate. From volunteer to PhD there are many who call themselves youth workers whether qualified or not. Another contested area is whether people are paid or not. There are thousands of people who volunteer to work with young people across Australia without who the youth sector would be considerably understaffed. Until we clarify as a sector what we mean by the term “Youth Work” we will be at the mercy of other definitions. We need to clarify professional paid youth work from volunteer work and other forms of youth support. This clarification does not need to reduce the amazing contribution of people to the sector, but it does need to focus our attentions.

To support the podcast, donate here!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Ultimate Youth Worker

Podcast 005: Who is Ultimate Youth Worker?

Ultimate Youth Worker
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Who is Ultimate Youth Worker?

Today’s podcast is a quick one to answer some of the questions people have about Ultimate Youth Worker as an organisation.

Youth work is a tough gig. Its probably why you have joined with over 1000 youth workers from all over the world who visit us every month. We truly care about you and your career.

We know that you want to be the best youth worker you can be. We know you want training. You want the right knowledge. You want support from management. We also know that you probably aren’t getting any of this either. Around 10% of youth workers get these things. The remaining 90% range from mediocre to down right criminal levels of support. It’s no wonder 21% of workers leave the youth sector every year.

Ultimate Youth Worker is an Australian company devoted to strengthening youth workers locally, nationally and internationally. We provide practical support, ongoing professional development and training opportunities for those working with young people between the ages of 12 and 25 and their agencies to build and maintain longevity in the field. Our vision is to see highly trained youth workers experiencing personal and professional development opportunities to grow a strengthened professional youth sector.

To support the podcast, donate here!

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Involuntary clients in youth work

Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast – 004 Working with involuntary clients

Involuntary clients in youth work
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Involuntary clients

Working with involuntary clients is one of the most difficult tasks youth workers will have to do in their career. Youth work by its very nature is a voluntary relationship. So how can youth workers provide service to this client group? In this podcast we begin to share some thoughts on working with involuntary clients as youth workers. This is the first podcast in a series we will do on working with involuntary clients. From youth justice to working in the local church youth workers in every setting need to understand the basics of working with young people who have not voluntarily come to our service.

In todays cast Aaron Garth lays a foundation for us from his experience working with a number of clients who did not voluntarily come to his attention. From young people referred to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre as part of their parole conditions to young people who have a parent in prison Aaron has worked with many young people who were coerced into seeing him. It is through these many instances Aaron gained his experience. As a lecturer Aaron brings this experience to his classes and links them to current research on working with this client group.

We hope you begin to grapple with the work of youth workers in involuntary settings. More and more our funding is linked to our young people complying with services they don’t necessarily want. Services such as education, employment and training which is linked to their welfare payments. Drug and alcohol services linked to their parole conditions. All the while our funding requiring us to engage and support these young people who do not want to be there, with the threat of our service being defunded if we do not comply with the framework of the day.

To support the podcast, donate here!

Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Group Work

Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast – 003 Group Work

Group Work
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Group Work

Group work is one of the most rewarding and exciting parts of our job as youth workers. It comes in many forms and it looks different in every context it is used in. Until the 1950’s however, it was a relatively unheard of area of study. Today there are thousands of articles, books and training courses with different ideas on the who, how, what and why of working with groups. With so many different theories and styles it can also make group work one of the scariest parts of our job.

Whether you are running a group in a school, church, drug rehab, practically anywhere the rules are the same. But if you don’t know the rules groups can be extremely daunting. Knowing the rules of group work will help us as youth workers provide the best facilitation possible. It also lets us help our young people to settle in to the roles that suit them and challenge them to step into new ones.

Group work is our bread and butter as youth workers. We don’t necessarily do one on one counselling. We don’t all run programs. But it is likely that we have all run a group.

Resources

Thanks for Listening!

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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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What is Youth Work?

The Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast – 002 What is youth work?

What is Youth Work?
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What is youth work?

What is youth work? It is a question that has haunted our profession for decades. In Australia we have attempted to frame our profession over the past few years however we keep coming up short. In todays podcast the team at Ultimate Youth Work frame this question using the current world wide definitions and our own framework of service. Controversial, probably! But it is a question we need to address if we are to cement ourselves as a profession.

We often frame our profession by what we are not rather than who we are. We do this as there is massive diversity. The range of qualifications from none at all to doctorates. The different practice situations. The issues our young people come to us with. Our different philosophical, sociological and ethical bents. We have a lot that can pull us apart. At Ultimate Youth Worker we are less concerned about our differences and more interested in what brings us together. We all care for young people. We want the best for them. Most of all we believe in their innate humanity.

Our profession is at a cross roads. Much of our previous held truths are gone. Government funding, gone. Universities protecting our courses, gone. Our very existence is threatened. Much of this because we can not answer the simple question, what is youth work? Until we can answer this question the future of our profession hangs in the balance.

If you have questions, thoughts, comments or queries we would love to hear from you, our amazing community of Ultimate Youth Worker’s.

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Thank you so much for your support. If you’ve made it this far, We’d love for you to come say hi to us on our Facebook Page. You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Check out our follow up episode: What is Youth Work Pt 2

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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The Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast

Podcast 001: A Balanced Life

Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast
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A Balanced Life

In this weeks Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast we explore the need for youth workers to have a self care plan. Youth work can be highly stressful. Because we care, we take on a lot. Vicarious trauma is a regular event on our calendar. Around 24% of youth workers leave the sector every year. Unfortunately, self care is not as big an agenda item.

In today’s episode Aaron takes us on a journey towards developing our very own self care plan.

Self care is easy

Self care is pretty simple when you plan for it. What three activities could you do to take your mind off the stress of the world? Who are three people you can check in with on a regular basis to vent? If your boss sucks at supporting you through the stress you’re not alone. Touch base with us if you need someone. But don’t let another day go by without starting to plan for your care. If you are not on top of it how can you care for anyone else.

To support the podcast, donate here!

Leave us a comment about what you think!

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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