It’s always great when you work for a great company - it keeps things interesting.Tamsin Leigh Goosen, Support Worker
Philip is a senior youth worker for the Whanaketanga programme with Youth and Cultural Development (YCD) in Christchurch.
Born to Samoan parents, he grew up in Christchurch and attended Bromley Primary and Linwood College. “I studied all the standard subjects such as English and maths, but my favourite subjects were sport and music. I believe my interest in these two subjects has helped me work so well with young people.
“I have always wanted to make a difference in young peoples’ lives, especially at the young age (from 11 to 18 years old) I am working with. They often come from fractured homes or lifestyles without role models to guide them,” he says, his passion evident.
This passion to help started when Philip was only very young – from when he was at primary school. “I have always participated and volunteered in church youth groups, as well as sports and music groups.”
YCD in Christchurch provides services to young people who are at risk of being caught in an offending circle. The organisation has formed partnerships with community and government organisations to provide the best services possible to this sector of the youth community, who otherwise would not get the support required to develop positive decision-making skills.
Philip now leads the Whanaketanga programme at YCD – helping to mould our future leaders, with funds provided by the Ministry of Youth Development.
Philip coordinates the programme in schools and the community, encouraging participation in culture, school, education, sport, arts through learning and leadership development.
“We support young people to plan and run events for other young people or for whanau, participating in activities such as dragon boating, culture groups.
We also provide a mediation-type role between the young people and whanau when appropriate.”
Following a year’s training with support from Careerforce in Christchurch, Philip graduated with a Level 3 qualification in Youth Work Leadership. He really enjoyed seeing the theory he studied put into practice. While he has worked at YCD for 11 years now, previously he had been in the hospitality industry. After gaining a Diploma in Hotel Management, Philip worked at the Heritage Hotel in Nelson as a conference supervisor for six years, and then had a stint as a duty manager at Christchurch’s Grand Chancellor. Philip also works part-time at My Father’s Barbers shop in Christchurch. But, his heart has always been with working with young people and he intends to continue studying to achieve even more in this career path. He plans on starting a business course soon, but envisages his future will always include working with youth.
Philip suggests those interested in youth work follow his example and start doing voluntary work – such as helping out in youth groups. Joining the Canterbury Youth Workers’ Collective also helped him network with other youth agencies in Christchurch, while his course with Careerforce was of great value.