Children & Young People

Pandemic provides opportunity of more fulfilling career

Kibble Child and Youth Worker, Paul O'Connor

Specialist child and youth care provider Kibble is looking to bolster their team of staff with people who are committed and passionate about giving young people a chance at life.

Unlike many employers, Kibble prioritises life experience and dedication to improving the life of young people as some of the top competencies in applicants for roles throughout the social enterprise.

Each position includes extensive training, personal mentoring, as well as ongoing guidance and support from peers and professionals throughout the leading charity. While some positions require qualifications or experience in the care sector, others offer applicants the chance to gain qualifications such as a HNC in Social Services.

Paul O’Connor, 29 from Johnstone, was a mechanic for 12 years before deciding on a change of career, beginning his training as a Child and Youth Care Worker with Kibble in November last year. In March, as a full lockdown became likely, he was fast-tracked through the Child and Youth Care training programme to support the charity as staff self-isolated.

Paul said: “I left school and didn’t know what I wanted to do, so fell into being a mechanic. I never minded that job, but I knew I wanted to do something I really cared about and the idea of working with young people in the care system had always intrigued me.

“When I first came across Kibble, the job I was actually planning to apply for was a mechanical youth trainer role, but during that process I came across the Child and Youth Care training programme and decided that this really was the kind of job I’d always wanted to do. If I didn’t do it now, I never would.

“When it came to actually applying, my initial thoughts were that I wouldn’t have the right qualifications, however, I soon realised that Kibble were more concerned about ensuring our values were on par than what grades I had.

“I have family who grew up in care, so I’ve seen how this can affect people and how it can often start a cycle which can be hard to break for future generations. My last job was to pay the bills, but being able to give someone a chance at life is something I am truly passionate about, and throughout my training it became clear that this is the kind of mindset which is crucial for anyone who wants to work with Kibble.

“You wouldn’t think the skills I learned from my time as a mechanic were transferable to a career in care, but the life experience I gained doing that, complemented by a drive and passion to help others, made me a great candidate.

“The training offered by Kibble in the trainee programme is rigorous and prepares you for everything you can expect to come across when working with young people who have been through trauma and adversity. The level of expertise which is evident throughout the charity means you know you can turn to your colleagues and they will be able to offer help and advice. The fact I am gaining an HNC in Social Services at the same time is a huge bonus and I’m looking forward to being able to use this to support other people who join Kibble in the future.

“Although the idea of a complete change in career was daunting, the support and training I received was extremely reassuring. I have constant access to a mentor if I have any questions or am unsure about anything. This has been invaluable to me and has made the process so much easier.

“I would recommend anyone who was considering a career in childcare to get in touch with Kibble. Like any job it comes with its stresses, but unlike any job, you know you’re making a difference and that is the most rewarding thing I could ask for.”

For more information about Kibble careers:


Edel Harris





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