On the 11th March 2015 we ran the Public Affairs and Community Engagement (PACE) Panel Event. The event brought together representatives from a range of sectors into themed panel sessions to provide insights and advice on the sector. The sectors covered were; Youth & Communities, Social Work, Charities, Parliament & Public Affairs and International Development. Over the next few weeks we will be providing a summary of each of these panel sessions on the blog, beginning today with Youth and Communities.
What is the Youth and Communities sector?
This is a broad sector encompassing any organisation supporting youth and communities, whether this is through police work, housing, employment or project work. Ultimately, these organisations work to make communities safe, promote trust between members and encourage engagement at all levels.
The panel was made up of representatives from the British Transport Police, Leeds Federated Housing Association and ENDIP Consulting/ Future Africa Ltd. The Challenge were due to attend but unfortunately weren’t able to on the day.
Range of roles in the organisations
British Transport Police: Administration, Legal Service Admin., PCs, PCSOs, CCT Evidence Officer, HR, Occupational Health, Fingerprint experts.
Leeds Federated Housing Association: Community Development (project work), Housing Officer, Planning board member, Finance, IT, HR, People into work (project work), Social Investment (project work), Maintenance, Construction.
ENDIP Consulting: Bid writers, Researchers, Business Development, Enterprise support Officers, Programme Designers, Programme Managers.
Skills & experience needed:
Voluntary experience in areas relating to community work is a definite advantage. However, as can be seen from the range of opportunities above highlighted by only 3 organisations, voluntary experience in any sector would be advantageous. For many roles, experience working with the potential client group is needed; e.g. working with young people for youth work roles, or vulnerable people for many community roles.
A degree is often required, but not necessarily in a relevant field; none of the panel members above graduated with a relevant degree. The representative from Leeds Federated Housing did a degree in Environmental Sustainability and gained his first role within housing through the GEM programme.
All these roles involve high levels of interaction with people on a daily basis, so having excellent interpersonal skills is essential. Being calm, able to think through problems and be able to support people from all areas of life without judgement is essential.
Passion and belief in the area of work
Whether it is working to improve housing, improving community relations, working with young people or any other community members, it is essential that you are passionate about the aims and objectives of the sector and individual organisation to which you are applying. A good way to demonstrate this is through previous experience.
General tips & advice
Building a large network is essential for this sector as the ethos behind it is connecting people within communities. Working with other organisations is a key feature of the sector. For example, LFHA working on a People into Work project is not something you would immediately associate with a housing organisation, but on closer inspection, employment and housing do go hand in hand. Having a large network and being up to date with changes and current affairs is only going to benefit you. Relatively easy area to get into – comparatively – simply due to the number of opportunities available in so many organisations. Salaries referenced starting at about £19,500 – £21,000 per year, although there will be lots of variation across the sector.
Sources of further information/ support
Careerweb – useful resources for the Community sector