Youth and Community Engagement Worker | Work with us | Jigsaw.ie

Youth and Community Engagement Worker (YCEW)

Youth and Community Engagement Worker (YCEW)

YCEWs play a critical role in promoting youth mental health and supporting the youth voice.

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Cliona Horan Youth and Community Engagement Worker

"With the young people I get to see their personal growth. With community groups, I have the opportunity to see projects from idea phase to finished project over a period of time.”

Cliona Horan
Youth and Community Engagement Worker

A typical day for me is ...

I don’t think I have a typical day because work in the community and with young people is so varied. Generally, I am creating networks so that people are aware of our work. I ensure they know who we are, where we are, what we do and how we can support the young people in their lives.

I deliver workshops to adults such as teachers, parents, coaches, and volunteers. These focus on young people’s mental health about what they can do to help a young person who is struggling or where to go for extra support.

I also work alongside our Youth Advisory Panel (YAP). These are a cohort of local young people, who discuss, plan and evaluate projects important to mental health issues within Limerick and the wider Jigsaw organisation.

My experience before coming to Jigsaw

I am a qualified teacher, but I have been working in adapted sport within the charity sector for the past five years. This involved developing, implementing and promoting community initiatives for young people with disabilities on a national and international level.

I was attracted to Jigsaw because the organisation actively seeks youth consultation and values their input when implementing change at a local and national level.

What I wondered about before I started in Jigsaw

As a youth and community worker, I wanted to know how involved young people genuinely were in the organisation, in what context we would interact and what impact community engagement would truly have.

I felt empathy, youth voice and evidence-based research were important.

What makes Jigsaw different?

Jigsaw works in direct consultation with those that use the service in order to achieve maximum impact.

Young people are at the centre of everything we do, interventions are solution focused for each individual and community workshops and partnerships seek to educate those that support young people throughout their daily lives, leaving a long-lasting legacy.

As a Youth and Community Engagement Worker ...

I get to hear first-hand from young people and community groups what they would like from our service and the impact it has had on them.

We also get to create an ongoing working relationship, which is great. With the young people, I get to see their personal growth. With community groups, I have the opportunity to see projects from ideation phase to completion over a period of time.

Alison Harte Youth and Community Engagement Worker

“The most important thing to me was the type of work Jigsaw do, and what current and previous employees had to say about working for Jigsaw. During this process I heard only positive things about Jigsaw".

Alison Harte
Youth and Community Engagement Worker (YCEW)

A typical day for me is

A typical day in Jigsaw for me would be liaising with external organisations, Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) meetings, meetings with other YCEWs, meetings with my manager and studying community engagement workshops.

There would also just be chatting and getting to know other staff members in the Tullamore Hub.

My experience before coming to Jigsaw

After leaving college I worked in an assisted living facility for young people with a range of complex support needs, such as mental health, challenging behaviour and disability. I then worked in a disability service, where I was a lead staff in a residential service for adults with down syndrome, autism, prader willis Syndrome and fragile X Syndrome.

After two years in the disability service, I looked for a change. I started as a family support worker for those experiencing homelessness in Galway. Here, I worked with adults and young people within the traveling community, as well as asylum seekers and individuals suffering with mental health issues, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

Before I began with Jigsaw, I was in Moyross, Limerick, with Tulsa’s Youth intervention team as a Youth & Family Support worker, working with marginalised young people in the area.

What I wondered about before I started in Jigsaw

I only started to work for Jigsaw within the last three months. When I originally thought about applying for the position, I was thinking things like: what does this organisation do?; what young people are targeted?; what is staff turnover like?, and what do other employees have to say about working here?

While things like perks of the job, salary and pensions are important factors, the most important thing to me was the type of work Jigsaw do, and what current and previous employees had to say about working for Jigsaw. During this process I heard only positive things about Jigsaw.

What are the advantages of working with Jigsaw?

I feel I am very new here, but an advantage I have found so far would be having the freedom to create your own path within the position.

Another one would be creating connections with stakeholders, such as the traveller movement, Mental Health Ireland, Youthreaches, the FAI, GAA and various schools. This way we can spread the word about Jigsaw and educate adults and young people about mental health. It is also a privilege having a youth advisory panel to echo the voices of young people in this country around mental health needs.

Since I began my role, I have found any staff member I have spoken with to be so kind, helpful and welcoming.

As a Youth and Community Engagement Worker ...

I interact with young people in schools, Youthreaches, GAA clubs, and more, giving mental health workshops. I would also work regularly with young people involved in the Youth Advisory Panel.

I work with local communities such as the traveller movement, Mental Health Ireland, Youthreaches, Local GAA Clubs, and the FAI in building strong working relationships. I would also give community workshops to adults and young people.

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