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Work With Offenders - The Choices
An outreach worker works with clients in so-called ‘hard to reach' communities (this term mainly refers to young people, people living in rural areas, people with disabilities and ethnic groups) and attempts to bridge a gap between the support that is available and them. They help and encourage people to veer away from the cycles and trappings of crime and drug abuse. In doing so, they aim to improve the conditions and well-being of the hard-to-reach communities in general.
A successful candidate would reflect an understanding and knowledge of street settings, local government legislation and would have excellent organisational skills. They would have had experience in working with groups or communities and have impressive empathy and diplomacy skills. The position does, after all, deal with people who are unwilling or unable to comply with the wishes or implementations of local authority groups and in doing so are limiting their access to support. The ability to connect with large groups of people is an obligatory requirement and high levels of confidence and adept communication skills would be highly favourable.
Experience and knowledge of the health, criminal justice or social care sectors would be desirable, but strong communication and responsive listening skills are the paramount requirements of the role. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as well as travelling, so candidates must reflect a flexible working attitude. Position holders are asked to produce accurate requirement packages that reflect the needs of the community, so strong literacy skills are necessary. They will provide information, advice and practical and emotional support for the community that they are focusing on as a means of identifying the areas in it that need a necessary amount of attention.
An outreach worker will be required to work as part of a team, so experience of this would be desirable. Often group sessions take place, so the position holder may be asked to organise and head a large group of people (whom have the potential for defiance and unrest). The idea of the role is to empower people, so outreach workers should prepare inspiring presentations. Information contained in reports must be kept confidential, so the workers hold sole responsibility for this.
Qualifications: Professional qualification in a relevant discipline e.g. health and social care social work, or youth work.
Experience: In a similar community, or one-to-one support role. Experience in youth work would is also required.
Skills: People skills, group skills, knowledge of local setting and relevant acts of law, team management and organizational skills, written and verbal communication skills.