What is the aim of your job?
Basically to key work young people into abstinence from
substance misuse. It’s also to build their self-esteem and in a way
to give them another direction. Some young people start smoking
cannabis because they have such low self-esteem and want to fit in
with their mates. Someone like me talks to them about the medical
side of drugs and the health risks.
What is an average day like?
On a good day I probably have three clients to see. There is a
lot of travelling and working on building relationships with other
agencies. On a typical day I see clients, contact other agencies,
tell them what we are doing and ask for help on things I’m not
qualified to deal with.
Who do you work alongside?
Police, social services, Connexions, pupil referral units, other
drug agencies, anyone working with young people.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with young people. It keeps you young and every day is
different. The best part is when you have discharged a client and
you know they have succeeded. You might walk down the street one
day and recognise them – they are wearing a shirt and tie – and you
stop and ask them what they are doing and maybe you had some part
What is the worst part?
When you have to get social services involved if it is a child
protection case – that’s horrible because you are having to break
their confidence. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen and
that’s the worst.
What is your work background?
Before coming here I worked with young offenders, then with
young drug users through the youth awareness programme in
Specific qualifications needed?
I’ve got an NVQ level 2/3 in health and social care, and I’ve
done courses on drugs.
What qualities do you require?
You have to be able to treat each of your clients as an equal
and also as an individual. You have to be able to gain their
respect and trust.
How much do you earn?
Any advice for those interested in this line of
You’ve got to be prepared to do the job for free. It’s got to be
something you feel passionate about. I’d do it for nothing.
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