This week is Youth Work Week, so we’re putting the spotlight on an amazing person who has committed to making a difference to the lives of young people in Manchester.
Akeim Mundell works as a pastoral leader in a secondary school, where he supports and encourages students from a wide range of backgrounds. He trained to be a teacher right here at the Growth Company.
Away from his full-time role, Akeim dedicates his time to youth work – and eight years of working in the education sector has given him a unique insight into the best ways to engage young people.
Speaking of his experience, Akeim said: “I’ve realised that young people don’t just require support inside the classroom, they also require support and guidance outside the classroom in the community. A lot of young people spend time on the streets – whether it’s walking to school, going to the shops or playing games with friends. These are the perfect opportunities for youth work to be happening, i.e. bonding with young people, having discussions, giving support and advice, creating community cohesion and building skills.”
“The importance of youth work is key, as it gives young people the chance to express their views and build their skills in ways they may not have the chance to do within their school or home.”
As a young person, Akeim spent a lot of his evenings and weekends at youth clubs – something which he ‘absolutely loved’. Attending youth clubs kept Akeim entertained, developed his confidence and gave him the chance to socialise and make new friends. And, it’s safe to say he was inspired by the youth workers who ran his local groups. He added: “All the youth workers were so involved and made a difference to me and others who attended the youth club – this made me realise that one day I’d also like to be doing youth work, and that’s why I decided to join the field.”
Akeim grew up in Whalley Range and Moss Side – an area of Manchester which has faced years of bad press and negative opinions. However, Akeim was keen to showcase all the amazing things that happen on his home turf:
“No matter what obstacles I’ve faced, I have aimed high and worked hard to put my vision into action. Thankfully this has shown that the area I grew up in is a beautiful place with fantastic things happening, along with brilliant people who are working tirelessly to inspire others and to make Manchester a better place, as a whole city. I am honestly so proud of what I do.”
He’s also proud of all the other youth workers who do such a fantastic job in supporting the younger generations – recognising that most work on a voluntary basis in their spare time. But is it all worth it? Akeim absolutely thinks so. When asked what his advice would be to anyone thinking of becoming a youth worker, he said: “If there’s anyone out there wanting to make a difference then please do consider it because the satisfaction you receive from knowing that you’re making a difference is amazing!”
It’s great to see someone who we’ve helped on their journey to go on to do such commendable things within their community. Well done Akeim!