Zenia Hamid graduated from the BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work in 2015. Zenia now works as an I-Zone Youth Worker at Newport Youth Service.
“Following some voluntary work at a local young women’s project run by Newport Youth Service, I realised I had the potential to work with young people, as well as a desire to contribute to my local community. From this, and through the support of youth work professionals around me, I applied to study the Youth and Community Work degree to learn more about the role of a youth worker.
The course provided me with a great amount of knowledge on youth work practice, as well as the opportunity to take part in diverse youth work placements and meet fantastic youth work professionals.
I found the small class sizes helpful, as we were able to talk about our own practice within our lectures. Being taught by some very influential lecturers and the support they provided was beyond my expectation, and it contributed greatly towards my academic performance, particularly when writing my dissertation and conducting research.
I am very proud that I was awarded ‘Best Undergraduate Dissertation in Youth Work’. My dissertation explored the identities of young British South Asian Muslim women in Newport and touched upon a current issue – the radicalisation of British Muslim youth. What particularly made my research study so valuable was that I reached out to young women who were not engaging in any youth services and provided them with the opportunity to have their voices and experiences heard.
One of the most valuable things that I have learnt during the course is the importance of accepting that when working with young people, each youth work practitioner will experience significant high moments and low moments, and this is really important for reflective practice.
I have been very fortunate to gain employment within my placement organisation. I currently work for Newport Youth Service, in a team of street-based youth workers on an anti-social behaviour project, which I thoroughly enjoy. Through my position as an I-zone youth worker, I have gained the most challenging and valuable experience. Building relationships with young people on the streets and within their settings requires particular abilities and skills, and this job has enabled me to grow in confidence as a professional youth worker.
My ultimate career goal is to work with vulnerable young people from ethnic minorities, particularly those who are victim to sexual exploitation, honour-based violence and extreme radicalisation – both young men and young women. I would like to be in a position to be able to reach out, particularly to Muslim communities, to do more to connect with and engage with young people. In the future, I will be looking to broaden my experience or perhaps even return to university, as I now have the desire to broaden my higher educational experience.”