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Becoming a manager at St Christopher’s

ManagerDo you have leadership potential? Through St Christopher’s Academy, you can start your career with us and climb the ladder to where you want to be.

Alisha joined St Christopher’s as team leader of a semi-independent home before taking on the Leadership Passport to develop herself for management. Find out what she gained from the experience.

Why did you want to work at St Christopher’s?

I was working in a youth club offering mentorship, helping with homework, giving advice on writing a CV and supporting young people to think about what they wanted to do when they left school. I really enjoyed it but because it was after school, there was not always much time or scope to do more.

When the opportunity came up at St Christopher’s, I already had some idea of the challenges their young people were facing. I was curious to help in a more meaningful capacity.

What experience did you have before joining the organisation?

Although I worked at the youth club, my understanding of the care system was very limited and I wasn’t familiar with the idea of a semi-independent home. My view aligned with what I had seen on TV or in popular culture, which isn’t the reality.

Why did you want to complete the leadership passport?

After a year of being team leader, I didn’t see myself in the way my manager saw me – I didn’t feel confident. So we used the leadership passport to help me build up my confidence and to take a methodical approach to developing the skills I needed to prepare for becoming a manager.

Succession planning is an important part of St Christopher’s. Managers and leadership are serious about tapping into people’s potential, and finding ways to align what they want to achieve personally and professionally with what the organisation wants to achieve for children and young people.

What activities are part of the passport?

The first step was sitting down with my manager and him showing me that the activities on the list are things I either already did on a weekly basis, had tried or had observed him doing. It made the role seem more in reach.

I did things like taking the lead on an area within the home and representing the organisation in different professional arenas. It’s very validating when you see your record of completing these tasks.

Did the passport work for you?

Yes, it did. It helped to structure my thinking about the application process for a manager position and ways to sell myself as a strong candidate. It gave awareness of St Christopher’s expectations of a manager, so I could prepare specific examples to demonstrate my confidence and competence in those areas.

Managing a home is a fast-paced job, so you have to carve out time to stop and reflect. The passport provides that space and is a welcome addition to the usual supervision conversations for people who are looking to take on new challenges.

What other professional development opportunities have you had at St Christopher’s?

Management create informal development opportunities all the time. In our region, we look at sharing talent across the services to strengthen the organisation from the inside. This means you can build a network of colleagues outside of your own team, so you have a stronger support system to call on if you need help or advice. We strive to serve the young people we look after as best as we can.

Not everyone wants to be a manager or leader, but with the Academy you can still take on other opportunities. A lot of my team are involved in the mentoring strand, which is a validating experience for them as it builds their confidence. We also find buddies for new starters to provide emotional support, so they go through their journey together and can spend time in different St Christopher’s services.

What’s next for you?

In the future I’d like to continue working with young people or with people who have experienced adversity in their childhood.

Are you looking for a rewarding career? Then St Christopher’s is the place for you. Apply to our vacancies today.