After a few years working as a Project Assistant at Norton Park, I have recently started a new role as an outreach careers worker with Key to Potential – a role which comes with Sighthill, Wester Hailes and Broomhouse as my office with various walls or sets of steps acting as my desk (I’d call it hot-desking but concrete is freezing at this time of year!) If I’m lucky I can camp out in a library for half an hour.
The job involves key working a caseload of 13 young people who are 15 years old, not attending school and approaching their school leaving date of 31st May. In a nutshell, I visit young people in their homes and we discuss their plans for after May 31st.
Of course, in reality it is a wee bit more complicated than that.
There are additional support needs (including difficulties with mental health such as anxiety and depression), and family dynamics (parents with care needs, bereavements, looked after care etc.) Which can mean that some young people can be a bit reticent about meeting with a careers worker or, in some cases, any new person at all.
Which is where the door-knocking comes in.
There’s lots of door-knocking, often with no response, but persistence usually pays off and eventually I get to meet with the young person and the two of us can get to work.
Even in the very short time I have been doing this job, I’ve seen a few positive glimmers in the way in which the young people I have met think about what will happen when they leave school. They have been shown some options which interest them and slowly but surely May 31st gains a higher priority in their mind, so that the young people are actively thinking about what they want to do. Thinking about how good it will be to have some money and generally thinking about life after school.
Life can be frustrating for many 15-year-olds and hopefully the work we do with Key to Potential can help to alleviate some of that frustration.
19th March 2018