Young’un of the Week – Katie Valentine

25 Mar

Every Monday from now on will be a celebration of a so-called ‘dying breed’. The media have young people pinned to the lazy, unambitious and even dangerous stereotype, and quite frankly I do NOT agree. I know far too many inspiring young people that never get any recognition for the extremely long hours of hard work they put in every single day just to better themselves and get ahead in this impossible country. None of the people featured in this weekly post have been born with a Silver Spoon up their bums, nor have they been handed anything on a Golden Platter. These young’uns don’t want fame, not even fortunes. They know what they want and how they are going to get it.

Without further ado, meet Katie Valentine. Katie is 22 years old and lives in Manchester with her son, James, 3, and her dream goal is to be a Probation Officer: “My goal is to be a probation officer as I am passionate about the community and reducing crime. I think having a son myself (makes me) worry about the world he is growing up in!”

This hasn’t always been Katie’s plan, though. She says, “My passion for this didn’t come about until a few years ago when I had just turned 19, had my son and moved away from my home town due to my relationship breaking down. I decided that now I had a baby it wasn’t an excuse to sit around at home and do nothing, it was more of a reason to MAKE SURE that mine and my son’s future was going to be the best (it can be).”

Katie continues, “I decided to go back to college and then to do a degree at university, as I never actually went to Uni at the age your ‘supposed’ to. I hardly attended school in my most important year – Year 11. I just about passed my GCSEs. I would definitely try harder if I could turn back time. I (didn’t let this) impact my life too much; there are lots of good educational opportunities for adults – you just have to look hard enough to find them!”

With the UK in dire straits at the moment, young people are lacking important funding and opportunities from potential employers, yet Katie has defied these odds to get ahead. She explains, “I’m currently at college studying an Access to Higher Education diploma in Criminology, Psychology and English along with GCSE Maths. If I pass this diploma it will enable me to start university in September this year or next.”

“At first I wanted to do community and youth work. I looked into voluntary work I could do to support my university application and landed myself a role within the youth offending team. I absolutely loved it and decided it would be brilliant to work with adults too. After months of harassing the local adult probation team about any opportunities they finally got back to me with an interview. I smashed the interview, completed the training and am now a fully-fledged alcohol and substance misuse mentor!”

Through her own grit and determination Katie has not only gained work experience that just aids her next step, it has also given her the self-confidence to go further: “The love I have for my voluntary work made me more determined to do an even more challenging degree so I have set my sights on Criminology and Law LLB. I’ve been accepted into four out of five universities and I am just waiting to hear back on the fifth. After this degree I hope to be able to work within the criminal justice system as a probation officer.”

Are things as hunky dory as they appear? For those of you reading wondering how anyone has the time or money to pursue such commitments, pay attention! Katie shares her tips for battling through; “The main challenge for this is time management; I have to plan my days down to the last minute! Even with the help of my partner it is still hard juggling voluntary work, college, assignments, running a home and being a mummy. Somehow I do it! My assignments are always handed in on time, my house is clean and tidy and James has everything he needs – including quality time with me. I make sure I am organised – my Filofax is my best friend!”

“At the moment I get child tax credit and child benefit, my mum helps me when she can if I need some extra money although I hate asking and I hardly ever do. My partner is also amazing and supports me in every way; he works and is actually going to university too this September! When I start Uni I will have my student loan to keep me going and after that I really hope to have work. The charities I volunteer for pay my expenses like travel costs, petrol etc. It’s hard but I would rather do it the hard way than just claim job seekers allowance!”

She adds, “I do get very tired, sometimes I just have to give in and have an early night. I wanted to book in to get my nails done the other day and realised I actually have no time to do this! I think I spend more time helping other people than doing things for myself but then I thought to myself, ‘Do material things like getting my nails done really matter?’ I would definitely rather be spending time with my clients, helping them achieve their road to recovery; I cant explain how much satisfaction I get out of my work.”

Other than adopting a steely work ethic, having the self-belief that you WILL achieve and being organised, what other advice would Katie give to other young people looking to get into the Criminal Justice industry?

“Do your research very well; if you know what career you want in the future then contact people that are already working in these roles, ask them how they achieved their goals and then if there is a way you could do the same then look into that. There are plenty of courses at local colleges and universities that are specifically for adults too. You can usually get bursaries to help with financial costs (for books, equipment, etc.) and my college even pays for my childcare – as long as I keep my attendance above 90%. It’s definitely worth looking into, where there is a will there is a way! I believe everyone has it in them to achieve their dreams.”

Finally, Katie adds, “Although I am still quite far away from my dream, I am closer than I have ever been and I am so excited about my future – I just want to make my son proud. I never, ever want him to go without anything and I want him to follow in my footsteps and work hard for the nice things in life.”

Katie Valentine PHOTO

 

Helpful Links

What would working in Criminology involve?

Volunteer Work in Your Area

Where Can I Work After Graduating in Criminology?

What Courses Are Available To Me?

To get in touch or if you want to feature as ‘Young’un of the Week’ then comment below or Tweet me @sheldan2207

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: