Who am I? - part 2
In this series of blogs I talk a bit more about my background and who I am. Part 2 looks at my journey as a trainer.
MY JOURNEY AS A TRAINER...
As I prepare for my next round of online LGBTQ awareness workshops with Onlinevents I took some time to reflect on my journey as a trainer.
You may be reading this wondering who I am, and I hope that this blog helps give you a little introduction into my journey as a trainer over the past 17 years.
I am very passionate about education and training and since 2003 teaching and training has been a part of my life.
I started out in 2003 working as an activity instructor, teaching adventure sports to children.
Then in 2004 I began a degree training to be a primary school teacher. Completing 2 placements in primary schools I got quite far through my primary teaching degree, however during the uni summers and alongside my degree I got heavily involved in working for a fantastic organisation called Learning Enterprises.
Learning Enterprises helped me see that compulsory classroom education was not where my heart lay. My time with Learning Enterprises (an entirely volunteer student run organisation) saw me teach English in Mauritius and then go on to recruit, train and mentor a team of student teachers to go out to Mauritius again for a second summer.
Training such a fab group of keen volunteers led to me to then become their Director of Programming whereby I was responsible for training and coordinating all the program leaders in each of the twelve international programs the organisation ran.
And so in the midst of all of this I decided to stop my primary teaching course and instead transfer on to a degree in Education. This degree fitted me much better. Here I learned about many fascinating things such as international education, special needs education, adult education as well as law and politics around education in the UK.
I loved my degree and was so proud to graduate with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Education.
This degree together with my experiences at Learning Enterprises led me to working for the education charity: Concordia in Brighton. Here my job was to recruit, train and mentor adults to volunteer on gap year projects as part of the fully funded European Voluntary Service (EVS) scheme.
At Concordia I ran training courses to prepare volunteers for the experience of living and working abroad. This was a very fulfilling job which saw me travel to lots of places in Europe as I visited many partner organisations and projects in our European network.
It was in this job that I got the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen to participate in an amazing 'Train the Trainers' week-long intensive course. With an action packed timetable of classes to attend I learned all about, different learning styles, group dynamics and handling difficult groups. I also planned and delivered assessed lessons which gave a real insight into how to improve my training plans and ways of working. Although I already had a background in teaching I enjoyed learning with other people from across Europe about how to train adults.
Alongside this job I had also been volunteering for the LGBTQ youth drop-in group at the fantastic Allsorts Youth Project. My interest in working with LGBTQ people flourished here as I later was offered a paid role as an LGBTQ youth worker with Allsorts.
I did this role part-time, whist also working for LGBTQ mental health charity MindOut as the Anti-Stigma Events Coordinator. Here my job was to set up and run all the LGBTQ Time to Change anti-stigma mental health events in the Brighton area. And so, I recruited and trained over 50 LGBTQ volunteers to support me with this amazing project.
I am so passionate about demystifying mental health and ending stigma and discrimination around mental health. And so I later took up a post with the YMCA as their Mental Health Promotion Coordinator. This saw me train, mentor and support a team of youth volunteers (aged 16 - 25) to run mental health awareness workshops in schools, colleges and youth clubs.
So teaching and training has pretty much always been a part of my career to date.
In recent years I was so excited when a local counselling organisation approached me to run a series of LGBTQ awareness training courses for their trainee counsellors. This sparked the creation of my very own training courses for counsellors to build confidence in working with LGBTQ clients.
I first began offering LGBTQ awareness training courses for local counselling organisations and in 2018 began to offer them online too.
And so, as I reflect back I see how much things have changed for me. I thought I was going to be a primary school teacher, but instead have ended up working as a counsellor and a trainer raising awareness about working with LGBTQ clients.
I am very happy where I am now and I look forward to seeing how things evolve as time goes on and new opportunities arise.
I am looking forward to June 2020 where I will be running a series of 4 workshops on an introduction to working with LGBTQ clients with Onlinevents. To find out more and join the group click here. All tickets are open at ‘pay what you can’ fees to make this training more accessible to those financially impacted by COVID-19. These courses will run again in October 2020.
I hope this has helped give you a sense of who I am as a trainer, and I look forward to meeting you if you are a counsellor looking to learn more about working with LGBTQ clients.
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Look out for part 3 posted in 2 weeks time where I will be writing about my journey working in the LGBTQ community.
Read part 1 on my journey as a counsellor here