I’m often asked what it is about Brathay’s work that makes it so good.

What is the secret ingredient, the magic formula that gets young people with no qualifications and little self-esteem out of bed and engaging in positive activities? My answer? It comes down to the quality of the worker.

Yes, we know that other things play their part. At Brathay we are proud of our unique model of youth development which has grown out of 70 years of experience. We know that using a mix of community and residential based delivery is a powerful combination. We believe our partnership work is second to none, and that is why our clients stay with us for many years. And our research hub gives us the capability to understand the impact our work has, reflect and continually improve. All these elements play their part.

But the magic? It’s as simple as….great youth workers.

Simple maybe, but not easy.  Great youth workers are passionate, committed and non- judgemental. They understand the issues young people face, are able to empathise but also to challenge. More than anything they have complete belief in young people– that change is possible, that anyone can succeed. And they never give up on a young person. Ever.

The challenge is to find these people, and that’s the hard bit. The best youth workers aren’t always qualified or experienced and you can’t always spot them in interview. What is more, youth work is not a career that people are clamouring to get into. They are badly paid, work crazy hours and have to be prepared to turn their hand to anything. Cuts have led to declining numbers. Sometimes finding them is just trial and error. The secret is to hold on to them when you’ve found one.

If you’re still not sure what I mean, watch this: