Youth club sessions hit by lack of supply workers

Youth officer Gr�inne Burns

Youth officer Gr�inne Burns

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Youth club sessions across the island are being hit by a shortage of supply workers.

The Department of Education and Children’s Youth Service is advertising vacancies to build up its supply youth worker list – used to cover illness, sickness or leave, often at short notice, of the permanent team of youth workers.

Youth officer Grainne Burns said: ‘We are finding it very difficult to fill spots on Friday and Saturday nights.

‘We have people on the list already but whether it’s too short notice or it’s not in the right area, we are not quite sure but we are struggling to fill gaps.

‘What that would mean is there would be times we couldn’t open because we wouldn’t have enough adults.’

It has become more of a problem in the past couple of months.

Among the worst affected areas are Peel, Castletown and Ramsey on Friday evenings and Castletown on Saturday evenings.

But during the week, there also shortages in outlying areas such as Ballaugh and Kirk Michael on Tuesday evenings.

Grainne said: ‘The whole aim of youth work is about building relationships with young people.

‘For that, we need to be consistent, fair and available at the times young people want to be there.

‘If we can’t offer that then it becomes much harder to build relationships and be trusted.

‘Reliability is key in all of this.’

Applicants for supply posts must be aged over 18 and will require a successful police check prior to commencing work.

Their training would include shadowing permanent youth workers, safeguarding children and risk assessment management.

Training is also given on issues facing young people, such as drugs and alcohol, and emotional health.

Grainne said: ‘You don’t need any particular experience or skills.

‘The only absolutely necessary skill is that you enjoy spending time with young people.’

The Youth Service runs more than 100 sessions a week at 30 venues and interacts with 3,000 young people aged eight to 21.

Indoor and outdoor sessions not only teach young people new sports, skills and crafts but offer them a place to meet, socialise and obtain support and guidance.

To discuss becoming a supply youth worker, ring the Youth Service on 686057.

To apply for a post, visit

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