“I knew I was ready because of the passport”
People want to work at St Christopher’s in order to make a difference to young people’s lives. But we also invest in our staff so they can learn new skills, progress in their job and represent the best of their profession.
Why did you want to work at St Christopher’s?
I was already working in supported housing for adults and noticed I got good outcomes from working with younger adults, so I decided to apply to work with just young people. The fact you could concentrate on getting someone to start their journey in life is what made me apply. St Christopher’s had a different approach to what I had seen because there was a focus on putting young people first.
What experience did you have before joining the organisation?
I had completed a traineeship working with rough sleepers, in homeless hostels and as floating support. Then I went to work in supported housing, which was often working with a range of different people – for example, young asylum seekers, victims of abuse and people struggling with addiction.
Why did you want to complete the Leadership Passport?
The passport offered a way for me to structure my career path. I told my manager that I wanted to run the service one day, so she helped me identify areas for development and opportunities for me to learn. Having this all written out in the passport meant I could tick off activities that built my tasks and competencies as I went along.
What tasks did you have to complete?
Some things I had already completed through my role as team leader, like supervising staff, leading meetings with local authorities or liaising with inspectors.
There are lots of things that are part of your day-to-day practice but others you have to create an opportunity to do, like giving feedback to someone. It can push you out of your comfort zone but without doing these tasks, you won’t always develop the skills you need.
Was anything about the passport unexpected?
Overseeing performance management, probation extensions or disciplinary procedures – I never considered that the job would entail these responsibilities so it was helpful to go through the situation on my own. It also meant I got to work with the People department to build relationships. Doing this has allowed me to be more flexible and confident if I have to deal with these situations now I am a manager.
How did completing the passport help you prepare for the manager role?
Firstly, it helped me with the interview as I could identify areas to work on. Secondly, it means you already feel in your comfort zone with tasks and responsibilities once you become a manager. And thirdly, the passport allows for continued development because it helps you identify areas for further training.
When the manager role became vacant, I knew I was ready because of the passport and everything I did to prepare. I was really confident going for the job!
What other development opportunities have you had?
I’m the lead for Housing Management, so I’ve learnt a lot about procedures, licensing agreements and ways of working together. My aim is to continually improve the organisation’s knowledge and practice. It is a great opportunity to learn more.
While I was team leader, I organised community outreach support for a young person who was moving out of our home. This helped me to establish an outreach service and provide extra support for young people when they move into the community, if they need it. I was able to set this up and now keep it running.
What would you say to someone looking to join the profession?
The best thing about this career is that you have a big impact on young people’s lives and can work in different capacities. You gain so many different skills and experiences that are transferable to other jobs, like being professional and developing yourself as a practitioner. But you also learn quite a lot as a human being because you work in different situations. You’ll get a lot of strengths that you can build on for the rest of your career.
Thank you Rad! To get your career underway at St Christopher’s, check out our vacancies.