I am very proud to be an Edge Hill graduate and thoroughly enjoyed studying for my degree”
Ellis Brennan has always strived for a fulfilling career helping young offenders turn their lives around, and after graduating from Edge Hill with a degree in Criminology and Sociology, she is putting all she learnt from her course into practice.
As a Support Worker for Wigan’s Youth Offending Team, Ellis has a genuine interest for helping people, and although it’s often demanding, the rewards outweigh the challenges.
“My role as a YOT Support Worker is to support young people aged between 10-18, most of whom have offended or are on bail, through their sentences. The Courts can impose different Orders and I work to enforce these Orders and meet the needs of the young person to help them develop, learn and avoid re-offending. This may include helping them get back into education or employment, providing support to the family, working with Social Care, completing offending behaviour work, reparation (community service), addressing substance misuse issues and more. My role can include working in Court, the Police Station, young people’s homes, schools, prison or the office. The variety of duties within my role makes every day different and I have a great enthusiasm for the work that we do and the team I work within.
“Before I started working for Wigan YOT, I worked at HMP Hindley where I delivered a five day induction programme to juveniles between the ages of 15 – 18 serving custodial sentences. I completed English and Maths assessments with the learners and screened for any special educational needs. My role was to prepare and inform the young people of the regime, rules and expectations, and how the prison can help them achieve and make the most of the opportunities available to them.
“Edge Hill has taught me a lot about the social factors and systems that impact upon the lives of those I work with, and the justice system as a whole. A lot of issues are explored within the Criminology and Sociology course and I feel it has prepared me for understanding the complex needs of our more vulnerable members of society. Although studying will enhance your knowledge and thinking skills, it doesn’t prepare you for the realities of the workplace and the communication skills and resilience needed to work within the field I do, so I think work placements are essential.
“My tutors provided me with support prior to me graduating and that still continues today as I have kept them up to date with my progress and they have provided job references for me. I am confident that I could rely on them should I need advice or guidance in the future.
“I would encourage anybody interested in a career in crime, justice or sociology to complete a joint honours degree as it will offer the opportunity to access a variety of jobs. I did volunteer work whilst I studied for my degree, supporting adult offenders with their resettlement back into the community upon their release from prison, and without this experience I do not believe I would be where I am today so I would advise students to pursue a volunteering role in the field they wish to work.
“I work within an ever-changing sector so being flexible and adapting to the working conditions of the current economic climate is essential. I love the work I do and hope I have made a positive impact and contribution to the lives of the young people I endeavour to support and help. I believe drive and commitment is vital for a person wishing to work in a field of work that can be stressful, hostile, emotional, good fun, interesting but yet highly rewarding.”